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Townsend, George Alfred. 

The Life, Crime, and 
Capture of John Y/ilkes 




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John Wilkes BootK' 





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From " HiLRPEK'S WEEKLY," for April 29th, 1S65. 









Conspiracy of wliich lie was tlie Leader, 







Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1865, 
By dick & Jt'ITZGEBALD, 

In the Clerk's OfiBce of the District Court of the United States for th« 

Southern District of New York. 



- ••(•, 

'' / 


One year ago the writer of the letters which follow, visiled the 
Battle Field of Waterloo. In looking over many relics of the combat 
preserved in the Museum there, he was particularly interested in the files 
of journals contemporary with the action. These contained the Duke of 
Wellington's first despatch announcing the victory, the reports of the sub- 
ordinate commanders, and the current gossip as to the episodes and 
hazards of the day. 

The time will come when remarkable incidents of these our times 
will be a staple of as great curiosity as the issue of Waterloo. It is an 
incident without a precedent on this side of the globe, and never to be 

Assassination has made its last effort to become indigenous here. 
The public sentiment of Loyalist and Rebel has denounced it : the world 
has remarked it with uplifted hands and words of execration. Therefore, 
as long as history shall hold good, the murder of the President will be a 
theme for poesy, romance and tragedy. We who live in this consecrated 
time keep the sacred souvenirs of Mr. Lincoln's death in our possession ; 
and the best of these are the news letters descriptive of his apotheosis, 
and the fate of the conspirators who slew him. 

I represented the World newspaper at Washington during the whole 
of those exciting weeks, and wrote their occurrences fresh from the 
mouths of the actors. 


iv Prefatory. 

It has seemed fitting to Messrs. Dick <fe Fitzgerald to repn 
the World letters, as a keepsake for the many who received them kindly » 
The Sketches appended were conscientiously written, and whatever em- 
bellishments they may seem to have grew out of the stirring events, — not 
out of my fancy. 

Subsequent investigation has confirmed the veracity even of their 
speculations. I have arranged them, but have not altered them ; if they 
represent nothing else, they do carry with them the fever and spirit of 
the time. But they do not assume to be literal history : We live too 
close to the events related to decide positively upon them. As a brochure 
of the day, — nothing more, — I give these Sketches of a Correspondent 
to the public. 

G. A. T. 





Washington, April 17. 

Some very deliberate and extraordinary movements were made by a 
handsome and extremely well-dressed young man in the city of Washing- 
ton last Friday. At about half-past eleven o'clock a. m., this person, whose 
name is J. Wilkes Booth, by profession an actor, and recently engaged in 
oil speculations, sauntered into Ford's Theater, on Tenth, between E and 
F streets, and exchanged greetings with the man at the box-office. In the 
conversation which ensued, the ticket agent informed Booth that a box was 
taken for Mr. Lincoln and General Grant, who were expected to visit the 
theater, and contribute to the benefit of Miss Laura Keene, and satisfy the 
curiosity of a large audience. Mr. Booth went away with a jest, and a 
lightly-spoken " Good afternoon." Strolling down to Pumphreys' stable, 
on C street, in the rear of the National Hotel, he engaged a saddle horse, 
a high-strung, ftist, beautiful bay mare, telling Mr. Pumphreys that he 
should call for her in the middle of the afternoon. 

From here he went to the Kirk wood Hotel, on the corner of Pennsylva- 
nia avenue and Twelfth street, where, calling for a card and a sheet of note- 
paper, he sat down and wrote upon the first as follows : 

For Mr. Andrew Johnson : — 

1 dou't wish to disturb you ; aro you at home ? 

J. W. Booth. 

To this message, which was sent up by the obliging clerk, Mr. Johnson 
responded that he was very busily engaged. Mr. Booth smiled, and turn- 
ino- to his sheet of note-paper, wrote on it. The fact, if fact it is, that he had 
been disappointed in not obtaining an examination of the Vice-President's 
apartment and a knowledge of the Vice-President's probable whereabouts 
the ensuing evening, in no way affected his composure. The note, the con- 
tents of which are unknown, was signed and sealed within a few momenta. 
Booth arose, bowed to an acquaintance, and passed into the street. His 
elegant person was seen on the avenue a few minutes, and was withdrawn 
into the Metropolitan Hotel. 

At 4 p. M., he again appeared at Pumphreys' livery stable, mounted the 
mare he had engaged, rode leisurely up F street, turned into au alley be- 

•• The Life, Crime, and Capture of John Wi^es Booth. 

tween Ninth and Tenth streets, and thence into an alley releading to the 
rear of Ford's Theater, which fronts on Tenth street, between E and F 
streets. Here he alighted and deposited the mare in a smaLl stable oft' the 
alley, which he had hired some time before for the accommodation of a 
saddle-horse which he had recently sold. Mr. Booth soon afterward retired 
from the stable, and is supposed to have refreshed himself at a neighboring 

At 8 o'clock the same evening. President Lincoln and Speaker Colfax 
sat together in a private room at the White House, pleasantly conversing. 
General Grant, with whom the President had engaared to attend Ford's 
Theater that evening, had left with his wife for Burlington, New-Jersey, in 
the 6 o'clock train. After this departure Mr. Lincoln rather reluctantly 
determined to keep his part of the engagement, rather than to disappoint 
his friends and the audience. Mrs. Lincoln, entering the room and turn- 
ing to Mr. Colfax, said, in a half laughing", half serious way, " Well, Mr. 
Lincoln, are you going to the theater with me or noti" "I suppose I 
shall have to go, Colfax," said the President, and the Speaker took his leave 
in company with Major Rathbone, of the Provost-Marshal General's office, 
who escorted Miss Harris, daughter of Senator Harris, of New-York. Mr. 
and Mrs. Lincoln reached Ford's Theater at twenty minutes before 9 

The house was filled in every part with a large and brilliantly attired 
audience. As the presidential party ascended the stairs, and passed behind 
the dress circle to the entrance of the private box reserved for them, the 
whole assemblage, having in mind the recent Union victories, arose, cheer- 
ed, waving hats and handkerchiefs, and manifesting every other accustomed 
sign of enthusiasm. The President, last to enter the box, turned before 

Scene of the Assassination. 

i President's Position. A The course of the Assassin after the Murder. ^B 
JMovahle partition not in use on the uight of the Assassination. /> Door through which 
the Assasain looked in taking aim, Closed door through which piatol ball wa« fix^d. 

The Murder. 

doing so, and bowed a courteous acknowledgment of his reception. At 
the moment of the President's arrival, Mr. Hawks, one of the actors, per- 
forming the well-known part of Dundreary, had exclaimed : " This re- 
minds me of a story, as Mr. Lincoln says." The audience forced him, 
after the interruption, to tell the story over again. It evidently pleased 
Mr. Lincoln, who turned laughingly to his wife and made a remark which 
was not overheard. 

The box in which the President sat consisted of two boxes turned into 
one, the middle partition being removed, as on all occasions when a state 
party visited the theater. The box was on a level with the dress circle; 
about twelve feet above the stage. There were two entrances — the door 
nearest to the wall having been closed and locked ; the door nearest the 
balustrades of the dress circle, and at right angles with it, being open and 
left open after the visitors had entered. The interior was carpeted, lined 
with crimson paper, and furnished with a sofa covered with crimson velvet, 
three arm chairs similarly covered, and six cane-bottomed chairs. Fes- 
toons of flags hung before the front of the box against a background of lace. 

President Lincoln took one of the arm-chairs and seated himself in the 
front of the box, in the angle nearest the audience, where, partially screen- 
ed from observation, he had the best view of what was transpiring on the 
stage. Mrs. Lincoln sat next to him, and Miss Harris in the opposite angle 
nearest the stage. Major Rathbone sat just behind Mrs. Lincoln and Miss 
Harris. These four were the only persons in the box. 

The play proceeded, although " Our American Cousin," without Mr. 
Sothern, has, since that gentleman's departure from this country, been just- 
ly esteemed a very dull affiiir. The audience at Ford's, including Mrs. 
Lincoln, seemed to enjoy it very much. The worthv wife of the President 
leaned forward, her hand upon her husband's knee, watching every scene 
in the drama with amused attention. Even across the President's face at 
intervals swept a smile, robbing it of its habitual sadness. 

About the beginning of the second act, the mare, standing in the stable 
in the rear of the theater, was disturbed in the midst of her meal by the 
entrance of the young man who had quitted her in the afternoon. It is 
presumed that she was saddled and bridled with exquisite care. 

Having completed these preparations, Mr. Booth entered the theater by 
the stage door; summoned one of the scene shifters, Mr. John Spangler, 
emerged through the same door with that individual, leaving the door open, 
and left the mare in his hands to be held until he (Booth) should return. 
Booth who was even more fashionably and richly dressed than usual, walk- 
ed thence around to the front of the theater, and went in. Ascending to 
the dress circle, he stood for a little time gazing around upon the audience 
and occasionally upon the stage in his usual graceful manner. He was 
subsequently observed by Mr. Ford, the proprietor of the theater, to be 
slowly elbowing his way through the crowd that packed the rear of the 
dress circle toward the right side, at the extremity of which was the box 
where Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln and their companions were seated. Mr. Ford 
casually noticed this as a slightly extraordinary symptom of interest on 
the part of an actor so familiar with the routine of the theater and the play. 

The curtain had arisen on the third act, Mrs. Mountchessingtoii and Asa 
Trenchard were exchanging vivacious stupidities, when a young man, so 
precisely resembling the one described as J. Wilkes Booth that he is as- 
serted to be the same, appeared before the open door of the President's 
box, and prepared to enter. 

The servant who attended Mr. Lincoln said politely, "this is the Presi- 



The Life, Crime and Capture of John Wilkes Booth. 

dent's "box, sir, no one is permitted to enter." " I am a senator," respond, 
ed the person, " Mr. Lincoln has ^nt for me." The attendant gave way, 
and the young man passed into the box. 

As he appeared at the door, taking a quick, comprehensive glance at th6 
interior, Major Rathbone arose. " Are you aware, sir," he said, courteous- 
ly, " upon whom you are intruding? This is the President's box, and no 
one is admitted." The intruder answered not a word. Fastening his eyes 
upon Mr, Lincoln, who had h^f turned his head to ascertain what caused 
the disturbance, he stepped quickly back without the door. 

Without this door there was an eyehole, bored it is presumed on the 
afternoon of the crime, while the theater was deserted by all save a few 
mechanics. Glancing through this orifice, John Wilkes Booth espied in a 
moment the precise position of the President ; he wore upon his wrinkling 
face the pleasant embryo of an honest smile, forgetting in the mimic scene 
the splendid successes of our arms for which he was responsible, and the 
history he had filled so well. 

The cheerful interior was lost to J. Wilkes Booth. He did' not catch 
the spirit of the delighted" audience, of the flaming lamps flinging illumina- 
tion upon the domestic foreground and the gaily set stage. He only cast 
one furtive glance upon the man he was to slay, and thrusting one hand 
in his bosom, another in his skirt pocket, drew forth simultaneously his 
deadly weapons. His right palm grasped a Derringer pistol, his left a dirk. 

Thenj at a stride, he passed the threshold again, levelled his arm at the 
President and bent the trigger. 

A keen quick report and a puflT of white smoke, — a close smell of 
powder and the rush of a dark, imperfectly outlined figure,— and the 
President's head dropped upon his shoulders : the ball was in his brain. 

The movements of the assassin were from henceforth quick aa the light 
The Theatre and its Surroundings. 

9TH. ST. 


1 ■ 









\*i a 






t > 

< y - 



XOth. ST. 

A Pul-lic School. B Herndon House. C Onlj vacant lot commnnicatiiu: with the 
Alley. V Only allov outlet to F street. E Bank. X Eostmirar . Cr iXowspa'^cr 
OUice. JI -M.kUI House. / Uoubs to which tho Prtiideut wju Uken. K Alky 
throHjfh which tha Murderer escaped. 

The Murder. 


ning, he dropped his pistol on the floor, and drawing a bowie-knife, struck 
Major Rath bone, who opposed him, ripping ♦^^hrough his coat from the 
shoulder down, and inflicting a severe flesh wound in his arm. He leaped 
then upon the velvet covered balustrade at* the front of the box, between 
Mrs. Lincoln and Miss Harris, and, parting with both hands the flags that 
drooped on either side, dropped to the stage beneath. Arising and turning 
full upon the audience, with the knife lifted in his right hand above his 
head, he shouted "Sic semper tyrannis — Virginia is avenged !" Another 
instant he had fled across the stage and behind the scenes. Colonel .T 


A Miss Lanra Keene's Position. D Movable partition wall not in place on Friday. 
P Position of the i'resideiit. X Flats. B Dark Passaare-ws^y — Position of Sentry. 
E Exit, or Stage Door. MM Entrance to Box. CCC Entraac« to Dress Circle. M 
Position of Booth's Horse. 

B. Stewart, the only person in the audience who seemed to comprehend the 
deed he had committed, climbed from his seat near the orchestra to the 
stage, and followed close behind. The assassin was too fleet and too des- 
perate, that fury incarnate, meeting Mr. Withers, the leader of the orches- 
tra, just behind the scenes, had stricken him aside with a blow that fortu- 
nately was not a wound ; overturning Miss Jenny GouHay, an ac^^ess, 
who came next in his path, he gained, without further hindrance, the back 
door previously left open at the rear of the theater ; rushed through it ; 
leaped upon the horse held by Mr. Spangler, and without vouchsafing that 



10 The Life, Crime, and Capture of John Wilkes Booth. 

person a word of information, rode out through the alley leading into F 
street, and thenos i ipidly away. Ilis horse's hoofs might almost have 
been heard amid the silence that for a few seconds dwelt in the interior of 
the theater. 

Then Mrs. Lincoln screamed, Miss Harris cried for water, and the full 
ghastly truth broke upon all — "The President is murdered ! " The scene 
that ensued was as tumultuous and terrible as one of Dante's pictures of 
hell. Some women fainted, others uttered piercing shrieks, and cries for 
vengeance and unmeaning shouts for help burst from the mouths of men. 
Miss Laura Keene, the actress, proved herself in this awful time as equal 
to sustain a part in real tragedy as to interpret that of the stage. Pausing 
one moment before the footlights to entreat the audience to be calm, she 
ascended the stairs in the rear of Mr. Lincoln's box, entered it, took the 
dying President's head in her lap, bathed it with the water she had brought, 
and endeavoured to force some of the liquid through the insensible lips. 
The locality of the wound was at first supposed to be in the breast. It 
was not until after the neck and shoulders had been bared and no mark 
discovered, that the dress of Miss Keene, stained with blood, revealed where 
the ball had penetrated. 

This moment gave the most impressive episode in the history of the 

The Chief Magistrate of thirty millions of people — beloved, honored, 
revered, — lay in the pent up closet of a pjay-house, dabbling with his sa- 
cred blood the robes of an actress. 

As soon as the confusion and crowd was partially overcome, the form 
of the President was conveyed from the theater to the residence of Mr. 
Peterson, on the opposite side of Tenth street. Here upon a bed, in a 
little hastily prepared chamber, it was laid and attended by Surgeoa- 
General Barnes and other physicians, speedily summoned. 

In the meanwhile the news spread through the capital, as if borne on 
tonfjues of flame. Senator Sumner, hearing at his residence, of the affair 
took a carriage and drove at a gallop to the White House, when he heard 
where it had taken place, to find Robert Lincoln and other members of 
the household still unaware of it. Both drove to Ford's Theater, and 
were soon at the President's bedside. Secretary Stanton and the other 
members of the cabinet were at hand almost as soon. A vast crowd, surg- 
ing up Pennsylvania avenue toward Willard's Hotel, cried, ".The Presi- 
dent is shot !" " President Lincoln is murdered." Another crowd sweep- 
ing down the avenue met the first with the tidings, " Secretary Seward has 
been assassinated in bed." Instantly a wild apprehension of an organized 
conspiracy and of other murders took possession of the people. The shout 
" to arms !" was mingled with the expressions of sorrow and rage that ev- 
erywhere filled the air. " Where is General Grant ?" or " where is Secre- 
tary Stantpn !" " Where are the rest of the cabinet ?" broke from thous- 
ands of lips. A conflagration of fire is not half so terrible as was the 
conflagration of passion that rolled through the streets and houses of 
Washington on that awful night. 

The attempt on the life of Secretary Seward was perhaps as daring, if 
not so dramatic, as the assassination of the President. At 9 :20 o'clock a 
man, tall, athletic, and dressed in light coloured clothes, alighted from a 
horse in front of Mr. Seward's residence in Madison place, where the secr&. 
tary was lying, very feeble from his recent injuries. The house, a solid 
three-story brick building, was formerly the old Washington Club-house. 
Leaving his horse standing, the stranger rang at the door, and informed the 

The Obsequies in Washington. 


servant who admitted him that he desired to see Mr. Sevrard. The servant 
responded that Mr. Seward was very ill, and that no visitors were admitted. 
" But 1 am a messenger from T)y. Verdi, Mr. Seward's physician ; I have 
a prescription which 1 must deliver to him myself." The servant still de- 
murring, the stranger, without further parley, pushed him aside and as- 
cended the stairs. Moving to the right, he proceeded towards Mr. Sew- 
ard's room, and was about to enter it, when Mr. Frederick Seward 
appeared from an opposite doorway and demanded his business. He 
responded in the same manner as to the servant below, but being met with 
a refusal, suddenly closed the controversy^ by striking Mr. Seward a severe 
and perhaps mortal blow across the forehead with the butt of a pistol. As 
the first victim fell, Major Seward, another and younger son of the secretary, 
emerged from his father's room. Without a word the man drew a knife 
and struck the major several blows with it, rushing into the chamber as he 
did so ; then, after dealing the nurse a horrible wound across the bowels, 
he sprang to the bed upon which the secretary lay, stabbing him once in 
the face and neck. Mr. Seward arose convulsively and fell from the bed to 
the floor. Turning and brandishing his knife anew, the assassin fled from 
the room, cleared the prostrate form of Frederick Seward in the hall, de- 
scended the stairs in three leaps, and was out of the door and upon his 
horse in an instant. It is stated by a person who saw him mount that, 
although he leaped upon his horse with most unseemly haste, he trotted 
away around the corner of the block with circumspect deliberation. 

Around both the house on Tenth street and the residence of Secretary 
Seward, as the fact of both tragedies became generally known, crowds soon 
gathered so vast and tumultuous that military guards scarcely sufficed to 
keep them from the doors. 

The room to which the President had been conveyed is on the first floor, 
at the end of the hall. It is only fifteen feet square, with a Brussels car- 
pet, papered with brown, and Jjung with a lithograph of Rosa Bonheur's 
" Horse Fair," an engraved copy of Herring's " Village Blacksmith," and 
two smaller ones of " The Stable" and " The Barn Yard," from the same 
artist. A table and bureau, spread with crotchet work, eight chairs and 
the bed, were all the furniture. Upon this bed, a low walnut four-poster, 
lay the dying President ; the blood oozing from the frightful wound in his 
head and staining the pillow. All that the medical skill of half a dozen 
accomplished surgeons could do had been done to prolong a life evidently 
ebbing from a mortal hurt. 

Secretary Stanton, just arrived from the bedside of Mr. Seward, asked 
Surgeon-General Barnes what was Mr. Lincoln's condition. " I fear, Mr. 
Stanton, that there is no hope." " O, no, general ; no, no ;" and the man, 
of all others, apparently strange to tears, sank down beside the bed, the 
hot, bitter evidences of an awful sorrow trickling through his fingers to the 
floor. Senator Sumner sat on the opposite side of the bed, holding one of 
the President's hands in his own, and sobbing with kindred grief. Secre- 
tary Welles stood at the foot of the bed, his face hidden, his frame shaken 
with emotion. General Halleck, Attorney-General Speed, Postmaster- 
General Dennison, M. B. Field, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Judge 
Otto, General Meigs, and others, visited the chamber at times, and then 
retir-ed. Mrs. Lincoln — but there is no need to speak of her. Mrs. Sena- 
tor Dixon soon arrived, and remained with her through the night. All 
through the night, while the horror-stricken crowds outside swept and 
gathered along the streets, while the military and police were patrolling 
and weaving a cordon around the city ; while men were arming and ask 




12 The Life, Crime, and Capture of John Wilkes Booth. 

ing each other, " What victim next?" while the telegraph was sending the 
news from city to city over the continent, and while the two assassins 
were speeding unharmed upon fleet horses far away — his chosen friends 
watched about the death-bed of the highest of the nation. Occasionally 
Dr. Gurley, pastor of the church where Mr. Lincoln habitually attended, 
knelt down in prayer. Occasionally Mrs. Lincoln and her sons, entered, to 
find no hope and to go back to ceaseless weeping. Members of the cabi- 
net, senat(jrs, representatives, generals, and others, took turns at the bed- 
side. Chief-Justice Chase remained until a late hour, and returned in the 
morning. Secretary McCuUoch remained a constant watcher until 5 a. m. 
Not a gleam of consciousness shone across the visage of the President up 
to his death — a quiet, peaceful death at last — which came at twenty-two 
minutes past seven a. m. Around the bedside at this time were Secreta- 
ries Stanton, Welles, Usher, Attorney-General Speed, Postmaster-General 
Dennison, M. B. Field, Assistant Secratary of the Treasury, Judge Otto, 
Assistant Secretary of the Interior, General Halleck, General Meigs, 
Senator Sumner, F. R. Andrews, of New- York, General Todd, of Dacotah, 
John Hay, private secretary. Governor Oglesby, of Illinois, General 
Farnsworth, Mrs. and Miss Kenny, Miss Harris, Captain Robert Lincoln, 
son of the President, and Drs. E. W. Abbott, R. K. Stone, C. D. Gatch, 
Neal Hall, and Leiberman. Rev, Dr. Gurley, after the event, knelt with 
all around in prayer, and then, entering the adjoining room where v/ere 
gathered Mrs. Lincoln, Captain Robert Lincoln, Mr. John Hay, and others, 
prayed again. Soon after 9 o'clock the remains were placed in a tempora- 
ry coffin and conveyed to the White House under a small escort. 

In Secretary Seward's chamber, a similar although not so solemn a 
soene prevailed; between that chamber and the one occupied by President 
Lincoln, visitors alternated to and fro through the night. It had been 
early ascertained that the wounds of the secretary were not likely to prove 
mortal. A wire instrument, to relieve the* pain which he suffered from 
previous injuries, prevented the knife of the assassin from striking too 
deep. Mr. Frederick Seward's injuries were more serious. His forehead 
was broken in by the blow from the pistol, and up to this hour he has re- 
mained perfectly unconscious. The operation of trepanning the skull has 
been performed, but little hope is had of his recovery. Major Seward 
will get well. Mr. Ilansell's condition is somewhat doubtful. 

Secretary Seward, who cannot speak, was not informed of the assassina- 
tion of the President, and the injury of his son, until yesterday. He had 
been worrying as to why Mr. Lincoln did not visit him. " Why does'nt 
the President come to see me ?" he asked with his pencil. " Where is 
Frederick — what is the matter with him ?" Perceiving the nervous ex- 
citement which these doubts occasioned, a consultation was had, at which 
it was finally determined that it would be best to let the secretary know 
the worst. Secretary Stanton was chosen to tell him. Sitting down be- 
side Mr. Seward's bed, yesterday afternoon, he therefore related to him a 
full account of the whole affair. Mr. Seward was so surprised and shocked 
that he raised one hand involuntarily, and groaned. Such is the condition 
of affairs at tnis stage of the terror. The pursuit of the assassins has com- 
menced ; the town is full of wild and baseless rumors ; much that is said 
is stirring , little is reliable. I tell it to you a."* I get it, but filncy is more 
prolific than truth : be patient ! 

[The fftcU above had been collected by Mr. Jerome B. Stillson, before xaj arnval 
in Wimhiugtou : the arrangeiucut of them is laj own. J 

The Obsequies in Washington. 13 


Washington, April 19, (Evening). 

The most significant and most creditable celebration ever held in Wash- 
mgton has just transpired. A good ruler has been followed from his home 
to the Capitol by a grand cortege, worthy of the memory and of the 
nation's power. As description must do injustice to the extent of the dis- 
play, so must criticism fail to sufficiently commend its perfect tastefulness. 
Karely has a Republican assemblage been so orderly. The funeral of Mr. 
Lincoln is something to be remembered for a cycle. It caps all eulogy 
upon his life and services, and was, without exception, the most representa- 
tive, spontaneous, and remarkable testimonial ever rendered to the remains 
of an American citizen. 

The night before the funeral showed the probable character of the cortege. 
At Wiliard's alone four hundred applications by telegraph for beds were 
refused. As many as six thousand persons spent Tuesday night in the 
streets, in depots and in outbuildings. The population of the city this 
morning was not far short of a hundred thousand, and of these as many as 
thirty thousand walked in procession with Mr. .Lincoln's ashes. 

All orders of folks were at hand. The country adjacent sent in hay- 
wagons, donkey-carts, dearborns. All who could slip away from the army 
came to town, and every attainable section of the Union forwarded 
mourners. At no time in his life had Mr. Lincoln so many to throng 
about him as in this hour, when he is powerless to do any one a service. 
For once in history, office-seekers were disinterested, and contractors and 
hangers-on human. These came, for this time only, to the capital of the 
republic without an axe to grind or a curiosity to subserve ; respect and 
grief were all their motive. This day was shown that tKe great public 
heart beats unselfish and reverent, even after a dynasty of plunder and 

The arrangements for the funeral were made by Mr. Harrington, Assist- 
ant-Secretary of the Treasury, who was beset by applicants for tickets. 
The number of these were reduced to six hundred, the clergy getting sixty 
and the press twenty. I was among the first to pass the White House 
guards and enter the building. 

Its freestone columns were draped in black, and all the windows were 
funereal. The ancient reception-room was half closed, and the famous 
East room, which is approached by a spacious hall, had been reserved for 
the obsequies. There are none present hei-e but a few silent attendants of 
the late owner of the republican palace. Deeply ensconced in the white 
satin stuffing of his coffin, the President lies like one asleep. The broad, 
high, beautiful room is like the varnished interior of a vault. The fres- 
coed ceiling wears the national shield, some pointed vases filled with flowers 
and fruit, and three emblazonings of gilt pendant from which are shroudea 
chandeliers. A purplish gray is the prevailing tint of the ceiling. The 
cornice is silver'white, set off* by a velvet crimson. The wall paper is gold 
and red, broken by eight lofty mirrors, which are chastely margined with 
black and faced with fleece. 

Their imperfect surfaces reflect the lofty catafalque, an open canopy of 
solemn alapaca, lined with tasteful satin of creamish lead, looped at the 
curving roof and dropping t<» the four corners in half transparent tapestry. 
Beneath the roof the half light shines upon a stage of fresh and fragrant 


14 The Life, Crime, and Capture of John Wilkes Booth. 

flowers, up-bearing a long, high coffin. White lace of pure silver pendant 
from the border throws a mild shimmer upon the solid silver tracery 
hinges and emblazonings. A cross of lilies stands at the head, an anchor 
of roses at the foot. The lid is drawn back to show the face and bosom, 
and on the coffin top are heather, precious flowers, and sprigs of green. 
This catafalque, or in plain words, this coffin set upon a platform and 
canopied, has around it a sufficient space of Brussels carpet, and on three 
sides of this there are raised steps covered with black, on which the 
honored visitors are to stand. 

The fourth side is bare, save of a single row of chairs some twenty in 
number, on which the reporters are to sit. The odor of the room is fresh 
and healthy; the shade is solemn, without being oppressive. All is rich, 
simple, and spacious, and in such sort as any king might wish to lie. 
Approach and look at the dead man. 

Death has fastened into bis frozen face all the character and idiosyncrasy 
of life. He has not changed one line of his grave, grotesque countenance, 
nor smoothed out a single feature. The hue is rather bloodless and leaden ; 
but he was alway sallow. The dark eyebrows seem abruptly arched ; the 
beard, which will grow no more, is shaved close, save the tuft at the short 
small chin. The mouth is shut, like that of one who had put the foot 
down firm, and so are the eyes, which look as calm as slumber. The collar 
is short and awkward, turned over the stiff elastic cravat, and whatever 
energy or humor or tender gravity marked the living face is hardened into 
its pulseless outline. No corpse in the world is better prepared according 
to appearances. The white'satin around it reflects sufficient light upon the 
face to show us that death is really there ; but there are sweet roses and 
early magnolias, and the balmiest of lilies strewn around, as if the flowers 
had begun to bloom even upon his coffin. Looking on uninterruptedly ! 
for there is no pressure, and henceforward the place will be thronged with 
gazers who will take from the sight its suggestiveness and respect. Three 
years ago, when little Willie Lincoln died. Doctors Brown and Alexander, 
the embalmers or injectors, prepared his body so handsomely that the 
President had it twice disinterred to look upon it. The same men, in the 
same way, have made perpetual these beloved lineaments. There is now 
no blood in the body ; it was drained by the jugular vein and sacredly pre- 
served, and through a cutting on the inside of the thigh the empty blood- 
vessels were charged with a chemical preparation which soon hardened to 
the consistence of stone. The long and bony body is now hard and stifle, 
so that beyond its present position it cannot be moved any more than the 
arms or legs of a statue. It has undergone many changes. The scalp hiis 
been removed, the brain taken out, the chest opened and the blood emptied. 
All that we see of Abraham Lincoln, so cunningly contemplated in this 
splendid coffin, is a mere shell, an effigy, a sculpture. He lies ir sleep, 
but it is the sleep of marble. AH that made this flesh vital, sentient, and 
affectionate is gone forever. 

The officers present are Generals Hunter and Dyer and two staflf" cap- 
tains. Hunter, compact and dark and reticent, walks about the empty 
chamber in full uniform, his bright buttons and sash and sword contrasting 
with his dark blue uniform, gauntlets upon his hands, crape on his arm and 
blade, his corded hat in his hands, a paper collar just apparent above his 
velvet tips, and now and then he spealLs to Captain Nesmith or Captain 
Dewes, of General Harding's staff", rather as one who wishes company than 
one who has anything to SF.y. His two silver stars upon his shoulder shine 
Aiasdy in the draped apartmftnt. He was one of the first in the war to 

Tlie Obsequiet at Washington. 15 

urge the measures which Mr. Lincoln afterward adopted. The aids walk 
to and fro, selected without reference to any association with the late Pres- 
ident. Their clothes are rich, their swords wear mourning, they go in 
silence, everything is funereal. In the deeply-draped mirrrors strange 
mirages are seen, as in the coffin scene of " Lucretia Borgia," where all the 
dusky perspectives bear vistas of gloomy palls. The upholsterers make 
timid noises of driving nails and spreading tapestry ; but save ourselven 
and these few watchers and workers, only the dead is here. The White 
House, so ill-appreciated in common times, is seen to be capacious and ele- 
gant — no disgrace to the nation even in the eyes of those foreign folk of 
rank who shall gather here directly. 

As we sit brooding, with the pall straight before us, the funeral guns arc 
heard indistinctly booming from the far forts, with the tap of drums in the 
serried street without, where troops and citizen's are forming for the grand pro- 
cession. We see through the window in the beautiful spring day that the 
grass is brightly green ; and all the trees in blossom, show us through their 
archways the bronze and marble statues breaking the horizon. But there 
is one at an upper window, seeing all this through her tears, to whom tho 
beautiful noon, with its Wealth of zephyrs and sweets, can waft no gratula- 
tion. The father of her children, the confidant of her affection and ambi- 
tion, has passed from life into immortality, and lies below, dumb, cold, 
murdered. The feeling of sympathy for Mrs. Lincoln is as wide-spread as 
the regret for the chief magistrate. Whatever indiscretions she may have 
committed in the abrupt transition from plainness to power are now for- 
given and forgotten. She and her sons are the property of the nation, 
associated with its truest glories and its worst bereavement. By and by 
the guests drop in, hat in hand, wearing upon their sleeves waving crape, 
and some of them slip up to the coffin to carry away a last impression of 
the fadinjj face. 

But the first accession of force is that of the clergy, sixty in number. 
They are devout looking men, darkly attired, and have come from all the 
neighboring cities to represent every denomination. Five years ago these 
were wrangling over slavery as a theological question, and at the beginning 
of the war it was hard, in many of their bodies, to carry loyal resolutions. 
To-day there are here such sincere mourners as Robert Pattison, of the 
Methodist church, who passed much of his life among slaves and masters. 
He and the rest have come to believe that the President was wise and 
right, and follow him to his grave, as the apostles the interred on calvary. 
All these retire to the south end of the room, facing the feet of the 
corpse, and stand there silently to wait for the coming of others. Very 
soon this East room is filled with the representative intelligence of the 
entire nation. The governors of states stand on the dais next to the head 
of the coffin, with the varied features of Curtin, Brough, Fenton, Stone, 
Oglesby and Ingraham. Behind them are the mayors and councilmen of 
many towns paying their last respects to the representative of the source 
of all municipal freedom. To their left are the corporate officers of Wash- 
ington, zealous to make this day's funeral honors atone for the shame of the 
assassination. With these are sprinkled many scarred and worthy soldiers 
yrho have borne the burden of the grand war, and stand before this shape 
they loved in quiet civil reverence. 

Still further down the steps and closer to the catafalque rest the familiar 
faces of many of our greatest generals — the manly features of Augur, 
whose blood I have seen trickling forth upon the field of battle ; the open 
almost bftardlfts«5 contour of Haiieek, who has often talked of seiges and 


16 Tht Life, Crime, and Capture, of John Wilkes Booth. 

campaigns with this homely gentleman who is going to the grave. There 
are many more bright stars twinkling in contiguous shoulder bars, but sit- 
ting in a chair upon the beflowered carpet is Ulysses Grant, who has lived 
a century in the last three weeks and comes to-day to add the luster of his 
iron face to this thrilling and saddened picture. He wears white gloves and 
sash, and is swarthy, nervous, and almost tearful, his feet crossed, his 
square receding head turning now here now there, his treble constellation 
blazing upon the letl shoulder only, but hidden on the right, and I seem to 
read upon his compact features the indurate and obstinate will to fight, on 
the line he has selected, the honor of the country through any peril, as if 
he had sworn it by the slain man's bier — his state-fellow, patron, and 
friend. Here also is General McCallum, who has seamed the rebellious 
South with military roads to send victory along them, and bring back the 
groaning and the scarred. These and the rest are grand historic figures, 
worthy of all artistic depiction. The_y nave looked so often into the mor- 
tar's mouth, that no bravo's blade can make them wince. Do you see the 
thin-haired, conical head of the viking Farragut, close by General Grant, 
with many naval heroes close behind, storm-beaten, and every inch Ameri- 
cans in thought and physiognomy 1 

What think the foreign ambassadors of such men, in the light of their 
own overloaded bodies, where meaningless orders, crosses, and ribboaa 
shine dimly in the funeral light? These legations number, perhaps, a hun- 
dred men, of all civilized races, — the Sardinian envoy, jetty-eyed, towering 
above the rest. But they are still and respectful, gathered thus by a slain ■ 
ruler, to see how worthy is the republic he has preserved. Whatever 
sympathy these have for our institutions, I think that in such audience they 
must have been impressed with the futility of any thought that either one 
citizen right or one territorial inch can ever be torn from the United StJtes. ' 
Not to speak disparagingly of these noble guests, 1 was struck with the 
superior facial energy of our own public servants, who were generally 
larger, and brighter-faced, born of that aristocracy which took its patent 
from Tubal Cain, and Abel the goatherd, and graduated in Abraham Lin- 
coln. The Haytien minister, swarthy and fiery -faced, is conspicuous 
among these. 

But nearer down, and just opposite the catafalque so that it is perpen- 
dicular to the direction of vision, stand the central powers of our govern- 
ment, its President and counsellors. President Johnson is facing the middle 
of the coffin upon the lowest step ; his hands are crossed upon his breast, 
his dark clothing just revealing his plaited shirt, and upon his full, plethoric, 
shaven face, broad and severely compact, two telling gray eyes rest under 
a thoughtful brow, whose turning hair is straight and smooth. Beside him 
are Vice-President Hamlin, whom he succeeded, and ex-Governor King, his 
most intimate friend, who lends to the ruling severity of the place a half 
Falstaftian episode. The cabinet are behind, as if arranged for a daguer- 
reotypist, Stanton, short and quicksilvery, in long goatee and glasses, in 
stunted contrast to the tall and snow-tipped shape of Mr. Welles with the 
rest, practiciil and attentive, and at their side is Secretary Chase, high, dig- 
nified, and handsome, with folded arms, listening, but undemonstrative, a 
half foot higher than any spectator, and dividing with Charles Sumner, who 
is near by, the preference for manly beauty in age. With Mr. Chase are 
other justices of the Supreme Court, and to their left, near the feet of the 
corpse, are the reverend senators, representing the oldest and the newest 
states — splendid faces, a little worn with early and later toils, backed up 
by the high, classical features of Colonel Forney, their secretary. Beyond 

The Obsequies at Washington. 17 

are the representatives and leading officials of the various departments, 
with a few odd folks like George Prancis Train, exquisite as ever, and, for 
this time only, with nothing to say. 

Close by the corpse sit the relatives of the deceased, plain, -honest, 
hardy people, rypical as much of the simplicity of our institutions as of 
Mr. Lincoln's self-made eminence. No blood relatives of Mr. Lincoln 
■were to be found. It is a singular evidence of the poverty of his origin, 
and therefore of his exceeding good report, that, excepting his immediate 
family, none answering to his name could be discovered. Mrs. Lincoln's 
relatives were pi-esent, however, in some force. Dr. Lyman Beecher Todd, 
General John B. S. Todd, C. M. Smith, Esq., and Mr. N. \V. Edwards, 
the late President's brother-in-law, plain, self-made people were here and 
were sincerely atfected. Captain Robert Lincoln sat during the services 
with his face in his handkerchief weeping quietly, and litt|.e Tad his face 
red and heated, cried as if his heart would break. Mrs. Lincoln, weak, 
worn, and nervous, did not enter the East room nor follow the remains. 
She was the chief magistrate's lady yesterday ; to-day a widow bearing 
only an immortal name. Among the neighbors of the late President, who 
came from afar to pay respect to his remains, was one old gentleman who 
left Richmond on Sunday. I had been upon the boat with him and heard 
him iir hot wrangle with some officers who advised the summary execution 
of all rebel leaders. This the old man opposed, when the feeling against 
Bim became so intense that he was compelled to retire. He counselled 
mercy, good faith, and forgiveness. To-day, the men who had called him a 
traitor, saw him among the family mourners, bent with grief. All these 
are waiting in solemn lines, standing erect, with a space of several feet be- 
tween them and the coffin, and there is no bustle nor unseemly curiosity, 
not a whisper, not a footfall — only the collected nation looking with awed 
hearts upon eminent death. 

This scene is historic. I regret that I must tell you of it ovev a little 
wire, for it admits of all exemplification. In this high, -spacious, elegant 
apartment, yfaughter and levee, social pleasantry and refined badinage, had 
often held their session. Dancing and music had made those mirrors thrill 
which now reflect a pall, and where the most beautiful women of their day 
had mingled here with men of brilliant favor, now only a very few, brave 
enough to look upon deaj;h, were wearing funeral weeds. The pleasant 
face of Mrs. Kate Sprague looks out from these ; but such scenes gain little 
additional power by beauty's presence. And this wonderful relief was 
carved at one blow by John Wilkes Booth. 

The religious services began at noon. They were remarkable not only 
for their association with the national event, but for a tremendous political 
energy Vhich they had. While none of the prayers or speeches exhibited 
great literary carefulness, or will obtain perpetuity on their own merits, 
they were full of feeling and expressed all the intense concern of the 

The procession surpassed in sentiment, populousness, and sincere good 
feeling, anything of the kind we have had in America. It was several miles 
long, and in all its elements was full and tasteful. The scene on the avenue 
will be alway remembered as the only occasion on which that great thorough- 
fare was a real adornment to the seat of government. In the tree tops, on 
the house tops, at all the windows, the silent and affected crowds clustered 
beneath half mast banners and waving crape, to reverentially uncover as 
the dark vehicle, bearing its rich silver-mounted coffin, swept along ; mot^ 
toes of respect ftnd honiage were on many edifices, and singularly some of 

18 The Life, Crime and Capture of John Wilkes Booth. 

them were taken from the play of Richard III., which was the murderers 
favorite part. The entire width of the avenue was swept, from curb to 
curb, by the deep lines. 

The chief excellence of this procession was its representative nature. All 
classes, localities and trades were out. As the troops in broad, straight 
.-olumns, with reversed muskets, moved to solemn marches, all the guns on* 
the fortifications on the surrounding hills discharged hoarse salutes— guns 
which the arbiter of war whom they were to honor could hear no longer. 
Every business place was closed. Sabermen swept the street of footmen 
and horsemen. The carriages drove two abreast. 

Not less than five thousand officers, of every rank, marched abreast with 
the corte<Te. They were noble looking men with intelligent faces, and rep- 
resented 'the sinews of the land, and the music was not the least excellent 
feature of the#nournful display. About thirty bands were in the line, and 
these played all varieties of solemn marches, so that there were continual 
and mingling strains ef funeral music for more than three hours. Artillery, 
consistino- of heavy brass pieces, followed behind. In fact, all the citizen 
virtues a'lid all the military enterprise of the country were evidenced. 
Never attain, until Washington becomes in fact what it is in name, the chief 
city of America, shall we have a scene like this repeated— the grandest pro- 
cession ever seen on this continent, spontaneously evoked to celebrate the 
foulest crime on record. If any feeling of gratulation could arise in so cala- 
mitous a time, it would be, that so soon after this appalling calamity the 
nation calmly and collectedly rallied about its succeeding rulers, and showed 
in the same moment its regret for the past and its resolution for the future. 
To me, the scene in the White House, the street, and the capitol to-day, 
Avas the strongest evidence the war afforded of the stability of our mstitu- 
tions, and the worthiness and magnanimous power of our people. 

The cortege passed to the left side of the Capitol, and entering the great 
gates, passed to the grand stairway, opposite the splendid dome, where the 
coffin was disengaged and carried up the ascent. It was posted under the 
bright concave, now streaked with mournful trappings, and left in state, 
watched by guards of officers with drawn swords. This was a wonderful spec- 
tacle, the man most beloved and honored in the ark of the republic. The 
storied paintings representing eras in its history were draped in sable, 
through which they seemed to cast reverential glances upon the lamented 
bier. \he thrilling scenes depicted by Trumbull, the commemorative can- 
vase's of Leutze, th°e wilderness vegetation of Powell, glared from their sep- 
erate pedestals upon the central spot where lay the fallen majesty of the 
countrv. Here the prayers ^nd addresses of the noon were rehearsed and 
the solemn burial service read. At nigjit the jets of gas concealed 
in the spring of the dome were lighted up, so that their bright reflection 
upon the frescoed walls hurled m^isses of 'burning light, like marvelous 
haloes, upon the little box where somach that we love and honor rested on 
its way to the grave. And so through the starry night, in the fane of the 
great Union he had strengthened and recovered, the ashes of Abraham 
Lincoln, zealously guarded, are now reposing. The sage, the citizen, the 
patriot, the man, has reached all the eminence that life can give the worthy 
or the ambitious. The hunted fugitive who struck through our hearts to 
slay him, should stand beside his stately bier to see how powerless are 
bullets and blades to take the real life of any noble man ! 

The Murderer. 19 


Wasi&njoton, April 27tli. 

Justice is satisfied, though blinder vengeance may not be. While the 
illustrious murdered is on the way to the shrine, the stark corpse of his 
murderer lies in the shambles. The one died quietly, like his life; the 
other died tightins:, like his crime. And now that over all of them the 
darkness and the dewliave descended, the populace, which may not be all 
satisfied, may perhaps be calmed. No triumphal mourning can add to the 
President's glory ; no further execration can disturb the assiissin's slum- 
bers. They have gone for what they were into history, into tradition, into 
the hereafter both of men and spirits ; aud what they were may be in part 
concluded. Mr. Lincoln's career passes, in extent, gravity, and eventful 
association, the province of newspaper biography ; but Booth is the hero 
of a single deed, and the delineation of him may begin and be exhausted 
in a single article. I have been at pains, since the day of the President's 
obsequies, to collect all valid information on the subject of his assassin, 
in anticipation of the latter's capture and death. Now that these have 
been consummated, I shall print this biography. 

The elder Booth in every land was a sojourner, as all his fathers were. 
Of Hebrew descent, and by a line of actors, he united in himself that strong 
Jewish physiognomy which, in its nobler phases, makes all that is dark and 
beautiful, and the combined vagrancy of all men of genius and all men of 
the stage. Fitful, powerful, passionate, his life was a succession of vices 
and triumphs. He mastered the intricate characters of dramatic literature 
bv intuition, rather than by study, and produced them with a vigor and 
vividness which almost passed the depicting of real life. The stage on 
which he raved and fought became as historic as the actual decks of battle 
ships, and his small and brawny figure c»mes down to us in those parox- 
ysms of delirious art, like that of Harold, or Richard, or Prince Rupert, 
He drank to excess, was profligate but not generous, required but not re- 
liable, and licentious to the bounds of cruelty. He threw off the^^ife of 
his bosom to fly from England with a flower-girl, and, settling in Balti- 
more, dwelt with his younger companion, and brought up many children, 
while his first^possessed went down to a drunken and broken-hearted death'. 
He himself, wandering westward, died on the way, errant and feverish, 
even in the closing moments. His widow, too conscious of her predeces- 
sor's wrongs, and often taunted with them, lived apart, frugal and discreet, 
and brought her six children up to honorable maturity. These were 
Junius Brutus, Edwin Forrest (though he drops the Forrest for professional 
considerations), John Wilkes, Joseph, and the girls. All of the boys are 
known to more or less of fame ; none of them in his art has reached the 
renowh of the father; but. one has sent his name as far as that of the great 
plavwright to whom they were pupils ; wherever Shakspeare is quoted, 
John Wilkes Booth will be named, and infamously, like that Hubert in 
" King John," who would have murdered the gentle Prince Arthur. 

It may not be a digression here to ask what has become of the children 
of the •weird genius I have sketched above. Mrs. Booth, against whom 
calumnv has had no word to say, now resides with her daughters in Nine- 
teenth street, New-York. John S. Clarke dwells in princely style in Phil 
adelphia, with the daughter whom he married ; he is the business partner 
of Edwin Booth, and they are likely to become as powerful managers as 




20 The Life, Crime, and Capture of John Wilkes Booth. 

they have been successful "stars." Edwhi Booth, who is said to have the 
most perfect physical head in America, and whom the hidies call the beau 
ideal of the inelanchuly Dane, dwells also on Nineteenth street. He has 
acquired a fortune, a(^ is, without doubt, a frankly loyal gentleman. He 
could not well be otherwise from his membership in the Century Club, 
where literature and loyalty, are never dissolved. Correct and pleasing 
without being powerful or brilliant, he has led a plain and appreciated 
career, and latterly, to his honor, has been awakening among dramatic 
authors some emulation by offering handsome compensations for original 
plays. Junius Brutus Booth, the oldest of them all, most resembles in 
feature his wild and wayward father ; he is not as good an actor as was 
Wilkes, and kept in the West, that border civilization of the drama; he 
now lies, on a serious charge of complicity, in Capitol Hill jail. Joseph 
Booth tried the stage as an utility actor and promptly failed. The best part 
he ever had to play Vl-as Orson in the " Iri>n Chest," and his discomfiture 
was signal ; then he studied medicine but grew discouraged, and is no\v'*in 
California in an office of some sort. A son of Booth by his first wife be- 
came a first-class lawyer in Boston. He never recognized the rest of the 
family. Wilkes Booth, the third son, was shot dead on Wednesday for 
attempting to escape from the consequences of murder. Such are the 
people to whom one of the greatest actors of our time gave his. name and 
lineaments. But I have anticipated the story : 

Although her family was large, it was not so hard sailiag with Mrs. Ro- 
salie Booth as may be inferred. Her husband's gains had been variably ■ 
great, and they owned a farm of some value near Baltimore. The boys 
had plain but not sufficient schooling, though by the time John Wilkes 
grew up Edwin and Junius were making some little money aiid helping 
the family. So Wilkes was sent to a better school than they, where he 
made some eventful acquaintances. One of these won his admiration as 
much in the playground as in subsequent life upon the field of battle ; this 
was Fitzhujjh Lee, son of the great rebel chieftain. 1 have not heard that 
Lee ever had any friendship for young Wilkes, but his port and name 
were enough to excite a less ardent imagination — the son of a soldier al- 
ready great, and a descendant of Washington. Wilkes Booth has often , 
spoken of the memory of the young man, envied his success, and, perhaps, 
boasted of more intimacy than he ever had. The exemplars of young 
Wilkes, it was soon seen, were anything but literary. He hated school 
and pent-up life, and loved the open air. He used to stroll ofi' to fish, 
though that sort of amusement was too sedentary for his nature, but went 
on fowling jaunts with enthusiasm. In these latter he manifested that fine 
nerve, and certain eye, which was the talk of all his associates ; but his 
greatebi love was the stable. He learned to ride with his first pair of 
boots, fviid hung around the grooms to beg permission to take the nags to 
water. He grew in later life to be both an indurated and a graceful 
horseman. Toward his mother and sisters he was affectionate without 
be;ng obedient. Of all the sons, Wilkes was the most headstrong in-doors, 
and the most contented away from home. He had a fitful gentleness 
which won him forgiveness, and of one of his sisters he was particularly 
fond, but none had influence over him. He was seldom contentious, but 
obstinately bent, and what he willed, he did in silence, seeming to discard 
sympathy or confidence. As a boy he was never bright, except in a boy's 
sense; tiiat is, he could run and leap well, fight when challenged, and gen- 
erally fell in with the sentiment of the crowd. He therefore made :i:any 

,«| The Murderer. 21 

ODmpanions, ai.d his early days all passed between Baltimore city and the 
adjacent farm. 

I have heard it said as the only evidence of Booth's ferocity in those 
early times that he was alwa\!> snooting cats, and killed off almost the 
entire breed in his neighbourhood. But on more than one occasion he ran 
away from both school and home, and once made the trip of the Chesa- 
peake to the oyster fisheries without advising anybody of his family. 

Yv'hile yet very young, Wilkes Booth became an habitue at the theater. 
Ilis traditions and tastes were all in that direction. His blood was of the 
stage, like that of the Keans, the Kembles, and the Wallacks. He would 
not commence at the bottom of the ladder and climb from round to round, 
nor take part in more than a few Thespian efforts. One night, howe\er, a 
young actoi', wh« was to have a benefit and wished to fill the house, re- 
solved for the better purpose to give Wilkes a chance. He announced 
that a son of the great Booth of tradition, would enact the part of Rich- 
mond, and the announcement was enough. Before a crowded place, Booth 
played so badly that he was hissed. Still holding to his gossamer hopes 
atid high conceit, Wilkes induced John S. Clarke, who was then addressing 
his sister, to obtain him a position in the company of the Arch Street 
Theater at Philadelphia. 

For eight dollars a week, Wilkes Booth, at the agt, rf twenty-two, con- 
tracted with William Wheatley to play in any piece cr part for which he 
might be cast, and to appear every day at rehearsal. He had to play the 
Courier in Sheridan Knowles's " Wife" on his first night, with five op ten 
little speeches to make ; but such was his nervousness that he blundered 
continually, and quite balked the piece. Soon afterward he undertook the 
part of one of th^ Venetian comrades in Hugo's " Lucretia Borgia," and 
was to have said in his turn — 

' Madame, I am Petruchio Pandolfo ;" instead of which he exclaimed: 

" Madame, I am Pondolfio Pet — , Pedolfio Pat — , Pantuchio Ped — ; 
damn it ? what am I ?" 

The audience roared, and Booth, though full of chagrin, was compelled 
to laugh with them. 

The very next night he was to play Dawson, an important part in 
Moore's tragedy of " The Gamester." He had bought a new dress to wear 
on this night, and made abundant preparation to do himself honor. He 
therefore invited a lady whom he knew to visit the theater, and witness his 
triumph. But at the instant of his appearance on the stage, the audience, 
remembering the Petruchio Pandolfo of the previous nig' ., Durst into 
laughter, hisses, and mock applause, so that he was struck dumb, and 
stood rigid, with nothing whatever to say. Mr. John Dolman, to wh-,oe 
Stukely he played, was compelled, therefore, to strike Dawson entirely out 
of the piece. 

These occurrences nettled Booth, who protested that he studied fiiithfully 
but that his want of confidence ruined him. Mr. Fredericks the stage 
manager made constant complaints of Booth, w^ho by the way, did not 
play under his full name, but as Mr. J. Wilkes — and he bore the general 
reputation of having no promise, and being a careless fellow. He asso- 
ciated freely with such of the subordinate actors as he liked ; but being, 
through Clarke, then a rising fiivourite, of better connections, might, had 
he chosen, advanced himself socially, if not artistically. Clarke was to 
have a benefit one evening, and to enact, among other things, a mock 
Richard III., to which he allowed Wilkes Booth to play a real Richmond. 
On this occasion, for the first time, Booth showed some energy, and 


ii2 The Life, Crime, and Capture of John Wilkes Booth. 

obtain some applause. But, in general, he was stumbling and worthless. 
I myself remember, on three consecutive nights, hearing him trip up and 
receive suppressed hisses. lie lacked enterprise ; other young actors, in- 
stead of waiting to be given better parts, committed them to memory, in 
the hope that their real interpreter might not come to hand. Amc^ng these 
I recall John McCullough, who afterwards became quite a celebrated 
actor. He was getting, if I correctly remember, only six dollars a week, 
while Booth obtained eight. Yet Wilkes Booth seemed too slow or indif- 
ferent to get on the weather side of such chances. He still held the part 
of third walking gentleman, and the third is always 'the first to be walked 
off in case of strait, as was Wilkes Booth. He did not survive forty 
weeks engagement, nor make above three hundred dollars in all that time. 
The Kellers arrived ; they cut down the company, and they dispensed with 
Wilkes Booth. He is remembered iu Philadelphia by his failure as in the 
world by his crime. 

About this time a manager named Kunkle gave Booth a salary of twenty 
dollars a week to go to the Richmond Theater. There he played a higher 
order of parts, and played them better, winning applauses from the easy 
provincial cities, and taking, as everywhere the ladies by storm. I have 
never wondered why many actors were strongly predisposed toward the 
South. There, their social status is nine times as big as with us. The hos- 
pitable, lounging, buzzing character of the southerner is entirely consonant 
with the cosmopolitanism of the stage, and that easy " hang-up-your-hat- 
ativeness," which is the rule and the demand in Thespianship. We place 
actors outside of society, and execrate them because they are there. The 
South took them into affable fellowship, and was not ruined by it, "but be 
loved by the fraternity. Booth played two seasons in Richmond, and left 
in some esteem. 

When the John Brown raid occured. Booth left the Richmond Theater 
for the scene of strife in a picked company with which he had affiliated for 
some time. From his connection with the militia on this occasion he was 
Wont to trace his fealty to Virginia. He was a non-commissioned officer, 
and remained at Charleston till after the execution, visiting the old pike- 
man in jail, and his company was selected to form guard around the scaf- 
fold when John Brown weiit, white-haired, to his account. There may be 
in this a consolation for the canonizers of the first arm-bearer between 
the sections, that one whose unit swelled the host to crush out that brave 
old life, to-^k from the scene inspiration enough to slay a merciful President 
in his unsusp».cting leisure. Booth never referred to John Brown's death 
in bravado ; possibly at that gallows began some such terrible purpose as 
he afterward consummated. 

It was close upon the beginning of the war when Booth resolved to 
transform himself from a stock actor to a " star." As many will read this 
who do not understand such distinctions, let me preface it by explaining 
that a " star" is an actor who belongs to no one theater, but travels from 
each to all, playing a few weeks at a time, and sustained in his chief char- 
acter ])y the regular or stock actors. A stock actor is a good actor, and a 
poor fool. A star is an advertisement in tights, who grows rich and cor 
rupts the public taste. Booth was a star, and being so, had an agent. The 
agent is a trumpeter who goes on before, writing the impartial notices which 
^ you see in the editorial columns of country papers and counting noses at 
the theater doors. Booth's agent was one ^latthew Canning, an exploded 
Philadelphia lawyer, who took to managing by passing the bar, and, J. 
Wilkes no longei, but our country's rising tragedian. J. Wilkes Booth, 

Th« Murderer. 23 

0{>enod in Montgomery, Alabama, in his father's consecrated part of Richard 
III. It w;is very ditferent work between receiving eight dollars a week 
and getting half the gross proceeds of every performance. Booth kept 
northward when his engagment was done, playing in many cities such 
parts as Romeo, the Corsican Brothers, and Raphael in the " Marble Heart ;" 
in all of these he gained applause, and his journey eastward, ending in east- 
ern cities like Providence, Portland, and Boston was a long success, in part 
deserved. lu Boston he received especial commendation for his enactment 
of Richard. 

I have looked over this play, his best and favopite one, to see how close- 
ly the career of the crookback he so often delineated resembled his own. 

How like that fearful night of Richard on Bosworth Held must have 

been Booth's sleep in the barn at Port Royal, tortured by ghosts of victims 

all repeating. 

" When I was mortal my anointed body 
By thee was punched full of deadly holes: 
Think ou the Tower and me 1 Despair and die 1" 

Or this, from some of Booth's female victims : 

" Let me sit heavy on thy sonl to-morrow ! 
I that was washed to death with fulsome wine ; 
Poor Clarence, by thy guile betrayed to death: 
To-morrow in the battle think on me ; despair and die 1" 

These terrible conjurations must have recalled how aptly the scene so 
often rehearsed by Booth, sword in hand, where, leaping from his bed, he 
cries in horror : 

" Give me another horse ! bind np my wounds 1 
Have mercy, Jesu ! Soft 1 I did but dream. 
Oh ! coward conscience how thou dost, afflict me I 
The lights burn blue. It is now dead midnight I , 

' Cold, nareful drops stand on my trembling flesh, 

"What do I fear? Myself? there is none else by : 
Is there a murderer here ? No I — Ye* ! — I am I 
Then fly, — wliat from myself? 

My conscience hath a thousand several tongues, 
And every tongue brings in a several tale, 
And every tale condemns me for a villain! 
Perjury, perjury in the highest degree : 
Murder, stern murder in the direst degree : 
All several sins, all used in each degree, 
Throng to the bar, crying all, Guilty ! guilty .'" 

By these starring engagments. Booth made incredible sums. His cash- 
book, for one single season, showed earnings dsposited in bank of twenty- 
two odd thousand dollars. In New York he did not get a hearing, except 
at a benefit or two : where he played parts not of his selection. In Phila- 
delphia his earlier failure predisposed the people to discard him, and they 
did. But he had made enough, and resolved to invest his winnings, The 
oil fever had just begun; he hired an agent, sent him to the western dis- 
tricts and gave him discretionary power ; his investments all turned out 

Booth died, as far as understood without debts. The day before the mur- 
der he paid an old friend a hundred dollars which he had borrowed two days 
previously. He banked at Jay Cook's in Washington, generally ; but 
turned most of his funds into stock and other matters. He gave eighty 
dollars eight month's ago for a part investing with others in a piece of 

S4 Tke Life, Crime, and Capture of John Wilkes Booth. 

western oil land. The certificate for this land he gave to his sister. Just 
before he died his agent informed him that the share was worth fifteen 
thousand dollars. Booth kept his accounts latterly with great regularity, 
and was lavish as ever, but took note of all expenditures, however irregu- 
lar. He was one of those men whom the possession of money seems to 
have energized ; his life, so purposeless long before, grew by good fortune 
to a strict computation with the world. Yet what availed so sudden refor- 
mation, and of what use was the gaining of wealth, to throw one's life so soon 
away, and leap from competence to hunted infamy. 

The beauty of this mi«i and his easy confidentiality, not familiar, but 
marked by a mild and even dignity, made many women impassioned of 
him. He was licentious as men, and particularly as actors go, but not a se- 
ducer, so far as I can learn. I have traced one case in Philadelphia where 
a young girl who had seen him on the stage became enamored of him. 

She sent him bouquets, notes, photographs and all the accessories of an 
intrigue. Booth, to whom such things were common, yielded to the girl's 
importunities at last and gave her an interview. He was surprised to find 
that so bold a correspondent was so young, so fresh, and so beautiful. He 
told her therefore, in pity, the consequences of pursuing him; that he en- 
tertained no affection for her, though a sufficient desire, and that he was a 
man of the world to whom all women grew fulsome in their turn. 

" Go home," he said, " and beware of actors. They are to be seen, not 
to be known." 

The girl, yet more infatuated, persisted. Booth, who had no real vir- 
tue except by scintillations, became what he had promised, and one more 
soul went to the isles of Cyprus. 

In Montgomery, if I do not mistake. Booth met the woman from whom 
he received a stab which he carried all the rest of his days. She was an 
actress, and he visited her. They assumed a relation creditable only in La 
Boheme, and were as tender as love without esteem can ever be. But, after 
a time, Booth wearied of her and offered to say " good by." She re- 
fused — he treated her coldly ; she pleaded — he passed her by. 

Then, with a jealous woman's frenzy, she drew a knife upon him and 
stabbed him in the neck, with the intent to kill him. Being muscular, he 
quickly disarmed her, though he afterward suffered from the wound poign- 

Does it not bring a blush to our faces that a good, great man, like he who 
has died — our President^should have met his fate from one so inured to 
a life of ribaldry ? Yet, only such an one could have been found to mur- 
der Abraham Lincoln. 

The women persecuted Booth more than he followed them. He was 
waylaid by married women in every provincial town or city where he 
played. His face was so youthful, yet so manly, and his movements so 
graceful and excellent, that other than the coarse and errant placed them- 
selves in his way. After his celebrated Boston engagement, women of all 
ages and degrees pressed in crowds before the Tremont House to see him 
depart. Their motives were various, but whether curiosity or worse, ex- 
hibiting plainly the deep influence which Booth had upon the sex. He 
could be anywhere easy and gentlemanly, and it is a matter of wonder that 
with the entry which he had to many well-stock*ed homes, he did not make 
hospitality mcjurn and friendship find in his visit shame and ruin. I have 
not space to go into the millionth catalogue of Booth's intrigues, even if 
this journal permitted further elucidation of so banned a subject. Most 

77ie Murderer. 


of his adherents of this class were, like Heine's Polish virgins, and he was 
very popular with those dramatic ladies — few, I hope and know, in their 
profession — to whom divorce courts are superfluous. His last permanent 
acquaintance was one Ella Turner, of Richmond, who loved him with all 
the impetuosity of that love which does not think, and strove to die at the 
tidings of his crime and fight. Happy that even such a woman did not die 
associated with John Wilkes Booth. Such devotion to any other murder- 
er would have earned some poet's tear. But the daisies will not grow a 
whole rod from his grave. 

Of what avail, may we ask, on the impossible supposition that Booth's 
crime could have been considered heroic, was it that such a record should 
have dared to die for fame ? Victory would have been ashamed of its cham- 
pion, as England of Nelson, and Franc* of Mirabeau. 

I may add to this record that he had not been in Philadelphia a year, 
on first setting out in life, before getting inli a transaction of the kind spe- 
cified. For an alWur at his boarding-house he was compelled to pay a con- 
siderable sum of money, and it happily occurred just as he was to quit the 
city. He, had many quarrels and narrow escapes through his license, a 
husband in Syracuse, N. Y., ouce followed hiim all the way to Cleveland to 
avenge a domestic insult. 

Booth's paper " To Whom it ' may Concern" was not his only attempt 
at influential composition. He sometimes persuaded himself that he had 
literary ability ; but his orthography and pronunciation were worse than 
his syntax. The paper deposited with J. S. Clarke was useful as showing 
his power to entertain a deliberate purpose. It has one or two smart pas- 
sages in it — =as this : 

" Our once bright red stripes look like bloody gashes on the face of 

In the passages following there is common sense and lunacy : 

" I know how foolish 1 shall be deemed for undertaking such a step as 
this, where, on the one side, I have many friends and everything to make 
me happy, where my profession alone has gained me an income of more 
than, twenty thousand dollars a year, and where my great personal a7nbition 
in my profession has such a great field for labor. On the other hand, the 
South have ne^er bestowed upon me one kind word ; a place now where I 
have no friends, except beneath the sod ; a place where I must either be- 
come a private soldier or a beggar. To give up all of the former for the 
fe^^er, besides my mother and sisters, whom I love so dearly (although they 
80 widely diifer witli me in opinion) seems insane ; but God is my 

Now, read the beginning of the manifesto, and see how prophetic were 
his words of his coming infimy. If he expected so much for capturing the 
President merely, what of our execration at slaying him ? 

" Right or wr(jng, God judge me, not man. For be my motive good or 
bad, of one thing 1 am sure, the lasting condemnation of the North. 

" I love peace more than life. Have loved the Union beyond expression. 
For four years have I waited, hoped and prayed for the dark clouds to 
break, and for a restoration of our former sunshine. To wait longer woula 
be a crime.. All hope for peace is dead. My prayers have proved as idle 
as my hopes. God's will be done. / go to see and share the bitter 

To wait longer would be a crime. Oh ! what was the crime not to wait ! 
Had he only shared the bitter end, then, in the common trench, his mt-m- 

26 ■ The Life, Crime, and Capture of John Wilkes Booth. 

ory might have been hidden. The end had come when he appeared *,o make 
of beuigriuiit victory a quenchless revenge. One more selection I'rom his 
apostrophe will do. It suggests the manner of his death : 

" They say that the South has found that 'last ditch' which the North 
have so long derided. Should I reach her in safety, and find it true, I will " 
proudly beg permission to triumph or die in that same 'ditch' by her side." 
The swamp near which he died may be called, without unseemly pun — a 
truth, not a ban viot — the last ditch of the rebellion. 

None of the printed pictuz-es that I have seen do justice to Booth. Some 
of the cartes de visite get him very nearly. He had one of the finest vital 
heads I have ever seen. In fact, he was one of the l)est exponents of vital 
beauty I have ever met. By this I refer to physical beauty in the Medician 
sense — health, shapeliness, power ii* beautiful poise, and seemingly more 
powerful in repose than in energy. His hands and feet were s'zable, not 
small, and his legs were stoutlllnd muscular, but inclined to bow like his 
father's. From the waist up he was a perfect man ; his chest being full 
and broad, his shoulders gently sloping, and his arms as white as alabaster, 
but hard as marble. Over these, upon a neck which was its proper column, 
rose the cornice of a fine Ikjric face, spare at the jaws and nut anywhere 
over-ripe, but seamed with a nose of Roman model, the only relic of his 
half-Jewish parentage, which gave decision to the thoughtfully stern sweep 
of two direct, dark eyes, meaning to woman snare, and to man a search war^ 
rant, while the lolly square forehead and square brows were crowned with 
a weight of curling jetty hair, like a rich Corinthian capital. His profile 
was eagleish, and afar his countenance was haughty. He seemed throat 
full of introspections, ambitious self-examinings, eye-strides into the future, 
as'if it withheld him something to which he had a right. I have since won- 
dered whether this moody demeanor did not come of a guilty spirit, but 
all the Booths look so. • 

Wilkes spoke to me in Washington for the first time three weeks before 
the murder. His address was winning as a girl's, rising in effect not from 
what he said, but from how he said it. It was magnetic, and I can des- 
cribe it therefore by its effects alone. I seemed, when he had spoken, to 
lean toward this man. His attitude spoke to me ; with as easy familiarity 
as I ever observed he drew near and conversed. The talk was on so 
trite things that it did not lie a second in the head, but whi-n 1 left him it 
was with the feeling that a most agreeable fellow had passed by. 

The next time the name of Wilkes Booth recurred to me was like the 
pistol shot he had fired. The right hand I had shaken murdered the father 
of the country. 

Booth was not graceful with his feet, although his ordinai-y walk was 
pleasant enough. But his arms were put to artistic uses ; not the baser 
ones like boxing, but all sorts of fencing, manual practice, and the hand- 
ling of weapons. 

In his dress, he was neat without being particular. Almost any clothes 
could fit him ; but he had nothing of the exquisite about him ; his neck- 
ties and all such matters were good without being gaudy. Nature had 
done much for him. In this beautiful palace an outlaw had builded his 
fire, and slept, and plotted, and dreamed. 

I have heard it said that Booth frequently cut his adversaries upon the 
%tage in shecir wantonness or bloodthirstiness. This is a mistake, and is 
attributable to his father, the elder Booth, who had the madiiess of con- 
founding hirhself with the character. Wilkes was too good a fencer to 
make ugly gashes ; his pride was his skill, not his awkwardness. Once 

The Murderer. 


tie was playing with John McCulIoiigh in the last act of "Richard." 
They were fighting desperately. Suddenly the cross-piece on the hilt of 
McCulloiigh's»sw(jrd flew off" and cut the owner deeply in the forehead. 
Blood ran down McCullough's face, though they continued to struggle, and 
while, ostensibly, Booth was imitating a demon, he said in a half whisper : 

" Good God, John, did I hurt you ?" 

And when they went off the stage, Booth was white with fear that he had 
gashed his friend. 

As an actor, Buoth was too energetic to be correct ; his conception of 
Richard was vivid and original, one of the best that we have had, and he 
came nearer his father's rendering of the last act than any body we have 
had. His combat scene was terrific. The statement that his voice had 
failed has no valid foundation ; it was as good when he challenged the 
cavalry-men to combat as in the best of his Thespian successes. In all 
acting that required delicate characterization, refined conception or careful- 
ness, Booth was at sea. But in strong physical parts, requiring fair read- 
ing and an abundance of spring and tension, he was much finer than hearsay 
would have us believe. 

His Romeo was described a short time ago by the Washington Intelli- 
gencer as the most satisfactory of all renderings of that fine character. He 
played the Corsican Brothers three weeks on a run in Boston. He played 
Pescara at Ford's Theater — his last mock part in this world — on to-mor- 
row (Saturday) night, six weeks ago. 

He was fond of learning and reciting fugitive poems. His favorite piece 
was "The Beautiful Snow," comparing it to a lost purity. He has been 
known by gentlemen in this city to recite this poem with fine effect, and 
pry all the while. This was on the principle of " guilty people sitting at a 
play." His pocket-book was generally full of little selections picked up 
at random, and he had considerable delicacy of appreciation. 

On the morning of the murder, Booth breakfasted with Miss Carrie Bean, 
the daughter of a merchant, and a very respectable young lady, at the 
National Hall. He arose from the table at, say eleven o'clock. During 
the breakfast, those who watched him say that he was lively, piquant and 
self-possessed as ever in his life. 

That night the horrible crime thrilled the land. A period of crippled 
flight succeeded. Living in swamps, upon trembling hospitality, upon 
hopes which sank as he leaned upon them. Booth passed the nighcs in 
perilpus route or broken sleep, and in the end went down like a bravo, 
bu^in the eyes of all who read his history, commanding no respect for his 
valor, charity for his motive, or sympathy for his sin. 

The closing scenes of these terrible days are reserved for a second 

paper. Much matter that should have gone 

into this is retained for tho 



28 Tne^Life, Crime, and Ca2)turi of John Wilkes Booth. 

L E T T E R IV. 


Washington, April 28 — 8 p. m. 
A hard and "rizzly face overiooks me as I write. Its inconsiderable 
forehead is crowned with turning sandy hair, and the deep concave of its 
lon<^ insatiate jaws is almost hidden by a dense red beard, which can 
not'^stili abate the terrible decision of the large mouth, so well sustained 
by searchiiii( eyes of spotted gray, which roll and rivet one. This is the 
face of Lafayette Hakei- colonel and chief of the secret service, lie has 
played the most periious jxirts of the war, and is the capturer of the late 
President's murderer. I'he story that I am to tell you, as he and his 
trusty dependents told it to me, will be aptly commenced here, where the 
net was woven wnich took the dying life of Wilkes Booth. 

When the murder occured. Colonel Baker was absent from Washmg- 
ton. He returned on the third morning, and was at once besought by Sec- 
retary Stanton to j<jin the hue and cry against the escaped Booth. ^ The 
sairacious detective found that nearly ten thousand cavalry, and one-fourth 
as^nany policemen, had been meantime scom-ing, without plan or compass, 
the whole territory of Southern Maryland. They were treading on each 
other's heels, and mixing up the thing so confoundedly, that the best 
place for the culprits to have gone would have been in the very midst of 
their pursuers. Baker at once possessed himself of the little the War 
Department had learned, and started immediately to take the usual detec- 
tive measures, till then neglected, of offering a reward and getting out 
photographs of the suspected ones. He then dispatched a few chosen 
detectives to certain vital points, and awaited results. 

The first of these was the capture of Atzeroth. Others, like the taking 
of Dr. Mudge, simultaneously occured. But the district supected being 
remote froin'the railway routes, and broken by no telegraph station, the 
colonel, to place himself nearer the theater of events, ordered an opera- 
tor, with the necessary instrument, to tap the wire running to Point 
Lookout, near Chappells Point, and send him prompt messsages. 

The same steamer which took down the operator and two detectives 
brou<dit back one of the same detectives and a negro. This negro, taken 
to Colonel Baker's olKce, stated so positively that he had seen Booth and 
another man cross the Potomac in a fishing boat, while he was looking down 
upon them fi-om a bank, that the colonel was at first skeptical ; but Sifhen 
examined the negro answered so readily and intelligently, recognizing the 
men from the photographs, that Baker knew' at last that he had the true scent. 
Straightway he sent to General Hancock for twenty -five men, and while 
tne order was going, drew down his coast survey-maps. With that qui^k 
detective intuition amounting almost to inspiration. Fie cast upon the pro- 
bable route and destination of the refugees, as well as the point where he 
would soonest strike them. Booth, he knew, would not keep along the 
coast, with frequent deep rivers to cross, nor, indeed, in any direction 
east of Richmond, where he was liable at any time to cross our hues of 
occupation ; nor, being lame, could he ride on horseback, so as to place 
himself very far westward of his point of debarkation in Virg nia. But he 
would travel in a direct course from Bluff point, where he crossed to East- 
ern Tennessee, and this would take him through Port Royal on the Rap- 
pahannock river, in time to be intercepted there by the outgoing cavalry- 

The Assassin^s Death. 


When, therefore, twenty-five men, under one Lieutenant Dougherty, ar- 
rived at his office door, Baker phiced the whole under control of his for- 
mer lieutenant-colonel, E. J. Conger, and of his cousin, Lieutenant L. B. 
Baker — the first of Ohio, the last of New-York — and bade them go with 
all dispatch to Belle Plain on the Lower P^otomac, there to disembark, and 
scour the country faithfully around Port Koyal, but not to return unless 
they captured their men. 

Conger is a short, decided, indomitable, courageous fellow, provincial in 
his manners, but fully understanding his business, and collected as a house- 
wife on Sunday. , 

Young Baker is large and fine-looking — a soldier, but no policeman — 
and he deferred to Conger, very properly, during most of the events 

Quitting Washington at 2 o'clock p. m. on Monday, the detectives and 
cavalrymen disembarked at Belle Plain, on the border of Stafford county, 
at 10 o'clock, in the darkness. Belle Plain is simply the nearest landing 
to Fredericksburg, seventy miles from Washington city, and located upon 
Potomac creek. It is a wharf and warehouse merely, and here the steamer 
John S. Ide stopped and made fast, while the party galloped off in the dark- 
ness. . Conger and Baker kept ahead, riding up to farm-houses and question- 
ing the inmates, pretending to be in search of the Maryland gentlemen be- 
longing to the party. But nobody had seen the parties described, and, after 
a futile ride on the Fredericksburg road, they turned shortly to the east, 
;iid kept up their baffled inquiries all the way to Port Coaway, on the Raj>- 

On Tuesday morning they presented themselves at the Port Royal ferry, 
and inquired i>f the ferry-man, while he was taking them over in squads of 
seven at a time, if he had seen any two such men. Continuing their in 
quiries at Port Royal, they found one Rollins a fisherman, who referred 
them to a negro named Lucas, as having driven two men a short distance 
toward Bowling Green in a wagon. It was found that these men answered 
to the description. Booth having a crutch as previously ascertained. 

The day before Booth and Harold had applied at Port Conway for the 
general ferry-boat, hat the ferryman was then fishing and would not desist 
for the inconsiderable fare of only two persons, but to their supposed 
good fortune a lot of confederate cavalrymen just then came along, who 
threatened the ferryman with a shot in the head if he did not instantly 
bring across his craft and ti-ansport the entire party. These cavalrymen 
were of Moseby's disbanded command, returning from Fairfax Court 
House to their homes in Caroline county. Their captain was on his way 
to visit a sweetheart at Bowling Green, and he had so far taken Booth under 
his patronage, that when the latter was haggling with Lucas for a team, he 
offered both Booth and Harold the use of his horse, to ride and walk alter- 

Li this way Lucas was providentially done out of the jbb, and Booth 
rode off' toward Bowling Green behind the confederate captain on one and 
the same horse. « 

So much learned, the detectives, with Rollins for a guide, dashed off in 
the bright daylight of Tuesday, moving southwestward thrinigh the level 
plains of Caroline, seldom stopping to ask questions, save at a certain half- 
way house, where a woman told them that the cavalry party of ye.sterday 
had returned minus one man. As this was far from circumstantial, the 
party rode along in the twilight, and reached Bowling Green at eleveu 
o'clock in the night. 



The Life, Crime, and Capture of John Wilkes Booth. 

This is the court-house town of Caroline county — a small and scattered 
ulace, having within it an ancient tavern, no longer used inv other than 
lutl'Mii"- purposes ; but here they hauled from his bed the captain aforesaid, 
and l)ade him dress himself. As soon as he comprehended the matter he 
became pallid and eagerly narrated all the facts in his possession. Booth, 
to his knowledge, was then lying at the house of one Garrett, which they 
had passed, and Harold had departed the existing day with the intention of 
rejoining him. 

Talking this captain along for a guide, the worn out horsemen retraced, 
thorio-h some of the men were so haggard and wasted with travel that they 
had to be kicked into intelligence before they could climb to their saddles. 
The objects of the chase thus at hand, the detectives, full of sanguine pur- 
pose, hurried the cortege so well along that by 2 o'clock early morning, all 
halted at Garrett's gate. In the pale moonlight three hundred yards from 
the main road, to the left, a plain old farmhouse looked grayly through its 
environino' locusts. It was worn and whitewashed, aud two-storied, and its 
half-human windows glowered down upon the silent cavalrymen like watch- 
in<>- owls which stood as sentries over some horrible secret asleep within. 
The front of this house looked up the road toward the Rappahannock, but 
did not face it, and on that side a long Virginia porch protruded, where, in 
the summer, among the honeysuckles, the humming bird flew like a visible 
odor. Nearest the main road, against the pallid gable, a single-storied 
kitchen stood, and there were three other doors, one opening upon the porch, 
one in the kitchen gable, and one in the rear of the farmhouse. 

Dimly seen behind, an old barn, high and weather-beaten, faced the 
roadside gate, for the house itself lay to the left of its own lane ; and 
nestling beneath the barn, a few long corn-cribs lay with a cattle shed at 
hand. There was not a swell of the landscape anywhere in sight. A plain 
dead level contained all the tenements and structures. A worm fence 
stretched along the road broken by two battered gate posts, and between 

Plan of Garrett's House. 

3Rt EN "^— MA IN ROAD-^ "tT'^IV rC 

A Door throu.'h ^vhicht^K. dyinp man v^.^ broreht. ^^^P'^'^.^lfXth^'t^^^l; 
fired C Spot In tho barn on wliich Booth stool D ^oint where Corbctt ^jcd^ 
I'orch where Booth died. G Poor at ^^hich Lieutenant Baker knocked. H bhcd. 
JT Kitchen. 


■<• I i\M 

The Assassin's Death. 


the road &nJ the house, the lane was crossed by a second fence and gate. 
The farm-house lane, passing the house front, kept straight on to the barn, 
though a second c;irriage track ran up to the porch. 

It "was a homely and primitive scene enough, pastoral as any farm boy's 
birth-place, and had been the seat of many toils and endearments. Young 
wives had b^en brought to it, and around its hearth the earliest cries of 
infants, gladdening mothers' hearts,*had made the household jubilant till 
the stars catna out, and were its only sentries, save the bright lights at its 
window-panes as of a camp-fire, and the suppressed chorusses of the 
domestic bivouac within, where apple toasting and nut cracking and coun- 
try games shortened the winter shadows. Yet in this house, so peaceful by 
moonlight, murder had washed its spotted hands, and ministered to its 
satiated appetite. History — present in every nook in the broad young 
world — had stopped to make a landmark of Garrett's farm. 

In the dead stillness. Baker dismounted and forced the outer gate ; 
Conger kept close behind him, and the horsemen followed cautiously. They 
made no noise hx the soft clay, nor broke the all-foreboding silence any- 
where, till the second gate swung open gratingly, yet even then rtor hoarse 
nor shrill response came back, save distant croaking, as of frogs or owls, 
or the whizz of some passing night-hawk. So they surrounded the pleas- 
ant old homestead, each horseman, carbine in poise, adjusted under the 
grove of locusts, so as to inclose the dwelling •with a circle of fire. After 
a pause. Baker rode to the kitchen door on the side, and dismounting, rap- 
ped and halloed lustily. An old man, in drawers and night-shirt, hastily 
undrew the bolts, and stood on the threshold, peering shiveringly into the 
darkness, ^ 

Baker seized him by the throat at once, and held a pistol to his ear. 
"Who — who is it that calls me?" cried the old man, "Where are the 
men who stay with you V challenged Baker, " If you prevaricate you are 
a dead man !" The old fellow, who proved to be the head of the family, 
■was so overawed and paralysed that he stammered, and shook, and said 
not a word, " Go light a candle," cried Baker, sternly, " and be quick 
about it," The trembling old man obeyed, and in a moment the imper- 
fect rays flared upon his whitening hairs and bluishly pallid face. Then 
the question was repeated, backed up by the glimmering pistol, " where 
are those men?' The old man held to the wall, and his knees smote each 

other, "They are 


he said. " We hav'n't got them in the house. 

I assure you that they are gone." Here there w^ere sounds and whisptir- 
ings in the main building adjoining, and the lieutenant strode to the door. 
A ludicrous instant intervened, the old man's modesty outran his terror. 
** Don't go in there," he said, feebly; '-there are women undressed in 
there." " Damn the women," cried Baker ; " what if they are undressed 1 
We shall go in if they haven't a rag." Leaving the old man in mute 
astonishment. Baker bolted through the door, and stood in an assemblage 
: of bare arms and night robes. His loaded pistol disarmed modesty of its 
delicacy and substituted therefor a seasonable terror. Here he repeated 
his summons, and the half light of the candle gave to his face a more than 
bandit ferocity. They all denied knowledge of the strangers' whereabouts. 
In the interim Conger had also entered, and while the household and its 
invaders were thus in weird tableaux, a young man appeared, as if he had 
risen from the ground. The muzzles of everybody turned upon him in a 
second ; but, while he blanched, he did not lose loquacity. " Father," he 
said, " we had better tell the truth about the matter. Those men whom 



32 Tht -^?/f. Crime, and Capture of John Wilkes Booth. 

you seek, gentlemen, are in the barn, I know. They wont there t'^ sleep." 
Leavino- one soldier to guard the old man — and the soldier was very glad 
of the job, as it relieved him of personal hazard in the approaching combat 
— all the rest, with cocked pistols at the young man's head, followed on to 
the barn. It lay a hundred yards from the house, the front barndoor 
facing the west gable, and was an old and spacious structure, with floors 
only a trifle above the ground level. 

The troops dismounted, were stationed at regular intervals around it, 
and ten yards distant at every point, four special guards placed to com- 
mand the door and all with weapons in supple preparation, while Baker 
and Conger went direct to the portal. It had a padlock upon it, and the 
key of this Baker secured at once. In the interval of silence that ensued, 
the rustling of planks and straw was heard inside, as of persons rising 
from sleep. 

At the same moment Baker hailed : 

" To the persons in this barn. I have a proposal to make ; we are about 
to send in to- you tlie son of the man in whose custody you are found. 
Either surrender to him your arms and then give yourselves up, or we'll set 
fir6*to the place. We mean to take you both, or to have a boiifire and a 
shooting match," 

No answer eume to this of any kind. The lad, John M. Garrett, who 
\»as in deadly fear, was here pushed through the door by a sudden opening 
of it, and iinmediately Lieutenant Baker locked the door on the outside. 
The boy was heard to state his appeal in under tone. Booth replied : 

" Damn you. Get out of here. You have betrayed me." 

At the same time he placed his band in his pocket as for a pistol. A 
remonstrance followed, but the boy slipped quickly over tbe reopened por- 
tal, repoiting that his errand had failed, and that he dared nut enter again. 
All this time the candle brought from the house to the barn was burning 
close beside the two detectives, rendering it easy for any one Avithin to 
have shot them dead. This observed, the light was cautiously removed, 
and everybody took care to keep out of its reflection. By this time the 
crisis of the position was at hand, the cavalry exhibited very variable in- 
clinations, some to run away, others to shoot Booth without a summons, but 
all excited and fitfully silent. At the house near by the female folks were 
seen collected in the doorway, and the necessities of the case provoked 
prompt conclusions. The boy was placed at a remote point, and the sum- 
mons repeattd by Baker : 

"You must surrender inside there. Give up your arms and appear. 
There is no chance for escape. We give you five mmutes to make up 
your mind." 

A bold, clarion reply came from within, so strong as to be heard at the 

house door : 

" Who are you, and what do you want with us f 

Baker again urged : " We want you to deliver up your arms and become 
our prisoners." 

"But who are you?" hallooed the same strong voice. 

Baker. " That makes no difference. We know who you are, and we 

want )ou. We have here fifty men, armed with carbines and pistols. 
You cannot escape.'' 

There was a long pause, and then Booth said : 

" Captam. this is a hard case, I swear. Perhaps I am being taken by my 
own friends." No reply from the detectives. 

P)OOth — " Well, give us a little time to consider." 

r ' m \ n ^''1 Tj'rf 'f^ri'FnT*l!ifrF'fi|h,i^ ^ ^^^ 

If m 




1. atiiitiiPliBjt!iW'«i*:Jii4iii«!iiiii)siiiiiiia;ii.iiffliiiffl 


The Assassiii's Death. £5 


Baker — " Very well. Take time." 

Here ensued a long and eventful pause. What thronging memories it 
brought to Booth, we can only guess. In this little interval he made tha 
resolve to die. But he was cool and steady to the end. Baker, after a 
lapse, hailed for the last time. 

" Well, we have waited long enough ; surrender your arms and come 
out, or we'll fire the barn." 

Booth answered thus : " I am but a cripple, a one-legged man. With- 
draw your forces one hundred yard from the door, and J will come. Give 
me a cbmce for my life, captain. I will never be taken alive." 

Baker — " We did not come here to fight, but to capture you. I say 
again, appear, or the barn shall be fired." 

Then with a long breath, which could be heard outside. Booth cried in 
sudden calmness, still invisible, as were to him his enemies : 

" Well, then, my brave boys, prepare a stretcher for me." 

There was a pause repeated, broken by low discussions within between 
Booth and his associate, the former saying, as if in answer to some I'emon- 
strance or appeal, " Get away from me. You are a damned coward, and 
mean to leave me in my distress ; but go, go. I don't want you to stay. 
I Won't have you stay." Then he shouted aloud : 

"There's a man inside who wants to surrender." 

Baker — " Let him come, if he will bring his arms." 

Here Harold, rattling at the door, said : " Let me out ; open the door ; 
I want to surrender." 

Baker — " Hand out your arms, then." 

Harold — " 1 have not got any." 

Baker — " You are the man that carried the carbine yesterday ; bring It 
out." : 

Harold — " I haven't got any." / 

This was said in a whining tone, and with an almost visible shiver. / 

Booth cried aloud, at this hesitation : " He hasn't got any arms ; they are 
mine, and I have kept them." 

Baker — Well, he carried the carbine, and must bring it out." 

Booth — " On the word and honor of a gentleman, he has no arms with 
him. They are mine, and I have got them." 

At this time Harold was quite up to the door, within whispering dis- 
tance of Baker. The latter told him to put out his hands to be handcuffed, 
at the same time drawing open the door a little distance. Harold thrust 
forth his hands, when Baker, seizing him, jerked him into the night, and 
straightway delivered him over to a deputation of cavalrymen. The 
fellow began to talk of his innocence and plead so noisily that Conger 
threatened to gag him unless he ceased. Then Booth made his last appeal, 
in the same clear unbroken voice : 

" Captain, give me a chance. Draw off your men and I will fight them 
singly. I could have killed you six times to-night, but 1 believe you to be 
a brave man, and would not murder you. Give a lame man a show." 

It was too late for parley. All this time Booth's voice had sounded from 
the middle of the barn. 

Ere he ceiised speaking. Colonel Conger, slipping around to the rear, 
drew some loose straws through a crack, and lit a match upon them. They 
were dry and blazed up in an instant, carrying a sheet of smoke and flame 
through the parted planks, and heaving in a twinkling a world of light and 
heat upon the magazine within. The blaze lit up the black recesses of the 
great barn till every wasp's nest and cobweb in the roof was luminous, 


36 The Life, Crime and Capture of John Wilkes Booth. 

flinging stroaks of red and violet across the tumbled farm gear in the cor- 
tii'r, pU)Ws, harrows, hoes, rakes, sugar mills, and making every separate 
grain in the high bin adj;icent, gleam like a mote of precious gold. They 
tinged the beams, the upright columns, the barricades, where clover and 
timothy, piled high, held toward the hot incendiary their separate straws 
for the funeral pile. They bathed the murderer's retreat in beautiful illu- 
mination, and while in bold outline his figure stood revealed, they rose like 
an impenetrable wall to guard from sight the hated enemy who lit them. 
Behind the blaze, with his eye to a crack, Conger saw Wilkes Booth stand- 
ing upright upon a crutch. lie likens him at this instant to his brother 
Edwin, whom he says he so much resembled that he half believed, for the 
moment, the whole pursuit to have been a mistake. At the gleam of the 
fire Wilkes dropped his crutch, and, carbine in both hands, crept up to the 
spot to espy the incendiary and shoot him dead. His eyes were lustrous 
like fever, and swelled and rolled in terrible beauty, while his teeth were 
fixed, and he wore the expression of one in the calmness before frenzy. In vain 
he peered with vengeance in his look ; the blaze that made him visible con- 
cealed his enemy. A second he turned glaring at the fire, as if to leap 
upon it and extinguish it, but it had made such headway that this was a 
futile impulse and he dismissed it. As calmly as upon the battle field a 
veteran stands amidst the hail of ball and shell, and plunging iron, Booth 
turned at a man's stride, and pushed for the door, carbine in poise, and the 
last resolve of death, which we name despair, set on his high, bloodless 

As so he dashed, intent to expire not unaccompanied, a disobedient ser- 
geant at an eye-hole drew upon him the fatal bead. The barn was all 
glorious with conflagration and in the beautiful ruin this outlawed man 
strode like all that we know of wicked valor, stern in the fiice of death. A 
shock, a shout, a gathering up of his splendid figure as if to overtip the 
stature God gave him, and John Wilkes Booth fell headlong to the floor, 
lying there in a heap, a little life remaining. 

" He has shot himself!" cried Baker, unaware of the source of the report, 
and rushing in, he grasped his arms to guard against any feint or strategy. 
A moment convinced him that further struggle with the prone flesh was 
useless. Booth did not move, nor breathe, nor gasp. Conger and two ser- 
geants now entered, and taking up the body, they bore it in haste from the 
advancing flame, and laid it without upon the grass, all fresh with heavenly- 

" Water," cried Conger, " bring water." 

When this was dashed into his face, he revived a moment and stirred his 
lips. Baker put his ear close down, and heard him say : 

" Tell mother — and die — for my country." 

They lifted him again, the fire encroaching in hotness upon them and 
placed him on the porch before the dwelling. 

A mattrass was brought down, on which they placed him and propped 
his head, and gave him water and brandy. The women of the household, 
joined meantime by another son, who had been found in one of the corn 
cribs, watching as he said, to see that Booth and Harold did not steal the 
horses, were nervous, but prompt to do the dying man all kindnesses, 
although waived sternly back by the detectives. They dipped a rag in 
bri.ndy and water, and this being put between Booth's teeth he sucked it 
grredily. When he was able to articulate again, he muttered to Mr. Baker 
the same words, with an addenda. " Tell mother I died for mv country, 
I thought 1 did for the best." Baker repeated this, sayiug at the same time 

The Assass'uCs Death. 37 

** Booth, do I repeat it correctly." Booth nodded his head. By this timo 
the grayness of dawn was approaching ; moving figures inquisitively com- 
ing near were to be seen distinctly, and the cocks began to crow gutturally, 
though the barn was a hulk of blaze and ashes, sendinaj toward the zenith 
a spiral line of dense smoke. The women became importunate that the 
troops might be ordered to extinguish the fire, which was spreading toward 
their precious corn-cribs. Not even death could banish the call of interest. 
Soldiers were sent to put out the fire, and Booth, relieved of the bustle 
around him, drew near to death apace. Twice he was heni-;l to say, " kill 
me, kill me." His lips often moved but could complete no appreciable 
sound. He made once a motion which the quick eye of Conger under- 
stood to mean that his throat pained him. Conger put his finger there, 
when the dying man attempted to cough, but only causi-d the blood at his 
perforated neck to flow more lively. He bled very little, although shot 
quite through, beneath and behind the ears, his collar being severed on both 

A soldier had been meanwhile despatched for a doctor, but the route and 
return were quite six miles, and the sinner was sinking fast. Still the 
women made etforts to get to see him, but were always rebutfed, and all 
the brandy they could find was demanded by the assassin, who motioned 
for strong drink every two minutes. He made frequent desires to be turn- 
ed over, not by speech, but by gesture, and was alternately placed upon his 
back, belly and side. His tremendous vitality evidenced itself almost 
miraculously. Now and then his heart would cease to throb, and his pulses 
would be as cold as a dead man's. Directly life would begin anew, the 
face would flush up efl'ulgently, the eyes open and brighten, and soon re- 
lapsing, stillness re-asserted, would again be dispossessed by the same mag- 
nificent triumph of man over mortality. Finally the fussy little doctor 
arrived, in time to be useless. He probed the wound to see if the ball 
were not in it, and shook his head sagely and talked learnedly. 

Just at his coming Booth had asked to have his hands raised and shown 
him. They were so paralyzed that he did not know their location. When 
they were displayed he muttered, with a sad lethargy, ''Useless, useless." 
These were the last words he ever uttered. As he began to die the sun 
rose and threw beams into all the tree-tops. It w;i.s of a man's height when 
the struggle of death twitched and fingered in the fading bravo's face. Hia 
jaw drew spasmodically and obliquely downward ; his eyeballs rolled to- 
ward his feet, and began to swell ; lividness, like a horrible shadow, fast- 
ened upon him, aud, with a sort of gurgle and sudden check, he stretched 
his feet and threw his head back and gave up the ghost. 

They sewed him up in a saddle blanket. This was his shroud ; too like 
a soldier's. Harold, meantime, had been tied to a tree, but was now re- 
leased for the march. Colonel Conger pushed on immediately for Wash- 
ington ; the cortege was to follow. Bcjoth's only arms were his carbine, 
knife, and two revolvers. They found about him bills of exchange, Canada 
money, and a diary. A venerable old negro living in th^ vicinity had the 
misfortune to possess a hoi'se. This horse was a relic of former genera- 
tions, and showed by his protruding ribs the general leanness of the land. 
He moved in an eccentric amble, and when put upon his speed was genet 
ally run backward. To this old negro's horse was harnessid a very shaky 
and absurd wagon, which rattled like approaching dissolution, and each park 
of it ran without any connection or correspondence with any other part. It 
had no tail-board, and its shafts were sharp as famine ; and into this mimicry 
of a vehicle the murdex'er was to be seat to the I'otomac river, while tke 

^ ■« •• 

88 Hie Life, Crime, and Cajiture of John Wilkes Booth. 

man he had murdered was moving in state across the mourning continent. 
The old negro geared up his wagon by means of a set of fossil harness, and 
when it was backed to Garrett's porch, they laid within it the discolored 
corpse. The corpse was tied with ropes around the legs and made fast to 
the wagon sides. Harold's legs were tied to stirrups, and he was placed in 
the centre of four murderous looking cavalrymen. The two sons of Gar- 
rett were also taken along, despite the sobs and petitions of the old folks and 
women, but the rebel captain who had given Booth a lift, got oft amidst the 
night's agitations, and was not rearrested. So moved the cavalcade of re- 
tribution, with death in its midst, along the road to Port Royal. When 
the wagon started. Booth's wound till now scarcely dribbling, began to run 
anew. It fell through the crack of the wagon, dripping upon the axle, and 
spotting the road with terrible wafers. It stained the planks, and soaked 
the blankets; and the old negro, at a stoppage, dabbled his hands in it by 
mistake ; he drew back instantly, with a shudder and stifled expletive, 
" Gor-r-r, dat '11 never come off" in de world ; it's murderer's blood." He 
wrung his hands, and looked imploringly at the officers, and shuddered 
again : " Gor-r-r, I wouldn't have dat on me fur tousand, tousand dollars." 
The progress of the team was slow, with frequent danger of shipwreck 
altogether, but toward noon the cortege filed through Port Royal, where 
the citizens came out to ask the matter, and why a man's body, covered 
with sombre blankets, was going by with so great escort. They were told 
that it was a wounded confederate, and so held their tongues. The little 
ferry, again in requisition, took them over by squads, and they pushed from 
Port Conway to Bell Plain, which they reached in the middle of the after 
noon. All the way the blood dribbled from the corpse in a slow, incessant, 
sanguine exudation. The old negro was niggardly dismissed with two 
paper dollars. The dead man untied and cast upon the vessel's deck, steam 
gotten up in a little while, and the broad Potomac shores saw this skeleton 
ship flit by, as the bloody sun threw gashes and blots of unhealthy light, 
along the silver surface. 

All the way associate with the carcass, went Harold, shuddering in so 
gi'im companionship, and in the awakened fears of his own approaching 
ordeal, beyond which it loomed already, the gossamer fabric of a scaffold. 
He tried to talk for his own exoneration, saying he had ridden, as was his 
wont, beyond the East Branch, and returning, found Booth wounded, who 
begged him to be his companion. Of his crime he knew nothing, so help 
him God, &c. But nobody listened to him. All interest of crime, 
courage, and retribution centered in the dead flesh at his feet. At Wash- 
ington, high and low turned out to look on Booth. Only a few were per- 
mitted to see his corpse for purposes of recognition. It was fairly pre- 
served, though on one side of the face distorted, and looking blue-like 
death, and wildly bandit-like, as if bearen by avenging winds. 

Yesterday the Secretary of War, without instructions of any kind, com 
mitted to Colonel Lafayette C. Baker, of the secret service, the stark corpse 
of J. Wilkes Booth. The secret service never fulfilled its volition more 
secretively. " What have you done with the body ?" said I to Baker. 
"That is known " he answered, " to only one man living besides myself. 
It is gone. I will not tell you where. The only man who knows is sworn 
to silence. Never till the great trumpeter comes shall the grave of 
Booth be discovered." And this is true. Last night, the 27th of April, a 
small row boat received the carcass of the murderer ; two men were in it, 
they carried the body off" into the darkness, and out of that darkness it will 
never return. In the darkness, like his great crime, may it remain forever, 

A Solution of the Conspiracy. 39 

impalpable, invisible, nondescript, condemned to that worse than damna- 
tion, — annihilation. The river-bottom may ooze about it laden with 
great shot and drowning manacles. The earth may have opened to give it 
that silence and forgiveness which man will never give its memory. The 
fishes may swim around it, or the daisies grow white above it; but wo 
shall never know. Mysterious, incomprehensible, unattainable, like the 
dim times through Avhich we live and think upon as if we only dreamed 
them in perturbed fever, the assassin of a nation's head rests somewhere 
in the elements, and that is all ; but if the indignant seas or the profaned 
turf shall ever vomit his corpse from their recesses, and it receive humane 
or Christian burial from some who do not recognize it, let the last words 
those decaying lips ever uttered be carved above them with a dagger, to 
tell the history of a young and once promising life — useless ! useless ! 



[The annexed Letter, which has been cavilled at, as much as copied, is a rationale of 
the Conspiracy, combined from the Government's own officers. When it was written it 
was believed to be true : the evidence at the trial has confirmed much of it : I reprint it 
to show how men's ingenuities were at work to account for the conception and progress 
of the Plot.] 

Washikgton, May 2. 

Justice and fame are equally and simultaneously satisfied. The Presi- 
dent is not yet in his sarcophagus, but all the conspirators against his life, 
with a minor exception or two, are in their prison cells waiting for the 

The dark and bloody plot against a good ruler's life is now so fully un- 
raveled that I may make it plain to you. There is nothing to be gained 
by further waiting ; the trials are proceeding ; the evidence is mountain 
high. Within a week the national scaffold will have done its work, and 
be laid away forever. This prompt and necessary justice will signal the 
last public assassination in America. Borgia, and Medici, and Brinvilliers, 
have left no descendants on this side of the world. 

The conspiracy was both the greatest ana the smallest of our cycle. 
Narrowed in execution to a few, it was understood and connived at by a 
multitude. One man was its head and heart ; its accessories were so m> 
merous that the trouble is not whom to suspect, but whom not accuse. 
Damning as the result must be to the character of our race, it must be 
admitted, in the light of facts, that Americans are as secretive and as 
skillful plotters as any people in the world. The Rye House plot, neve/ 
fully understood ; the many schemes of Mazzini, never fiistened upon him 
sufficiently well for implication, yield in extent, darkness and intricacy, to 
the republican plot against the President's life and those of his counselors. 
The police operations prove that the late murder (^ as not a spasmodic 
and fitful crime, but long premeditated, and carried to consummation with 
as much cohesion and resolution as the murder of Allcssandro de Medici 
or Henri Quatre. 

I have been accused of cannonizing Booth. Much as I denounce and de- 
],recate his crime — holding him to be worthy of all execration, and so 
Sjeeped in blood that the exciii;es v^ a cpntury will fail to lift him out of 

40 The Life, Crime, and Capture of John Wilkes Booth. 

the atm<»sphere of common felons — I still, at every new developement, 
stand t'arther back in surprise and terror at the wonderful resources and 
extraordinary influence of one whom 1 had learned to consider a mere 
Thespian, full of sound, fury, and assertion. 

Strange and anomalous as the facts may seem, John Wilkes Booth 
was the sole projector of the plot against the President which culminated 
in the taking of that good man's life. He had rolled under his tongue 
the sweet paragraphs of Shakspearerefering to Brutus, as had his father so 
well, that the old man named one son Junius Brutus, and the other John 
Wilkes, after the wild English agitator, until it became his ambition, like 
the wicked Lorenzino de Mi-dici, to stake his life upon one stroke for fame, 
the murder of a ruler obnoxious to the South. 

That Wilkes Booth was a southern man from the first may be accounted 
for upon grounds of interest as well as of sympathy. It is insidious to find 
no higher incentive than appreciation, but on the stage this is the first and 
last motive ; and as Edwin Booth made his success in the North and re- 
mained steadfast, Wilkes Booth was most truly applauded in the South, 
and became rebel. A false emotion of gratitude, as well as an impulse 
of mingled waywardness and gratitude, set John Wilkes's face from the 
first toward the North, and he burned to make his name a part 
of history, cried into fame by the applauses of the South. 

He hung to his bloody suggestion with dogged inflexibility, maintaining 
only one axiom above all the rest — that whatever minor parts might be en- 
acted — Casca, Cassius, or what not — he was to be the dramatic Brutus, ex- 
cepting that assassin's negativeness. In other words, the idea was to be his 
own, as well as the crowning blow. 

Booth shrank at first from murder, until another and less dangerous res- 
olution failed. This was no less than the capture of the President's body, 
and its detention or transportation to the South. I do not rely on this as- 
sertion upon his sealed letter, where he avows it; there has been found upon 
a street within the city limits, a house belonging to one Mrs. Greene, mined 
and furnished with underground apartments, manacles and all the accessor- 
ies to private imprisonment. Here the President, and as many as could 
be gagged and conveyed away with him, were to be concealed in the event 
of tailure to run them into the confederacy. Owing to his failure to group 
around him as many men as he desired. Booth abandoned the project of 
kidnapping ; but the house was discovered last week, as represented, ready 
to be blown up at a moment's notice. 

It was at this time that Booth devised his triumphant route through the 
South. The dramatic element seems to have been never lacking in his 
design, and with all his base purposes he never failed to consider some sub- 
8e<:(uent notoriety to be enjoyed. He therefore shipped, before the end of 
1864, his theatrical wardrobe from Canada to Nassau. After the commis- 
sion of his crime he intended to reclaim it, and " star" through the South, 
drawing money as much by his crime as his abilities. 

When Booth began "on his own responsibility," to hunt for accomplices, 
he found his theory at fault. The bold men he had dreamed of refused to 
join him in the rash attempt at kidnapping the President, and were too 
conscientious to meditate murder. All those who presented themselves 
were military men, unwilling to be subordinate to a civilian, and a merp 
play-actor, and the mortified bravo found himself therefore compelled to 
sink to a petty rank in the plot, or to make use of base and despicable 
{Assistants. His vanity found it easier to compound with the second alter 
native than the first. 

A Solution of the Conspiracy. 'il 

Here began the first resolve, which, in its mere animal estate, we may 
name courage. Booth found that a tragedy in real life could no more bo 
enacted without greasy-faced and knock-ivneed supernumeraries than upon 
the mimic stage. Your " First Citizen," who swings a stave for Marc 
Antony, and drinks hard porter behind the flies is very like tlie bravo of 
real life, who murders between his cocktails at the nearest bar. Wilkea 
Booth had passed the ordeal of a garlicky green-room, and did not shrink 
from the broader and ranker green-room of real life. lie assembled 
around him, one by one, the cut-throats at whom his soul would have re- 
volted, except that he had bec(»me, by resolve, a cut-throat in himself. 

About this time certain gentlemen in Canada began to be uneuviably 
known. I abstain from giving their names, because unaware of how far 
they seconded this crime, if at all. But they seconded as infamous things, 
such as cowardly raids from neutral territory into the states, bauk robbings, 
lake pirating, city burning, counterfeiting, railway sundering, and the im- 
portation of yellow fever into peaceful and unoffending communities. I 
make no charges against those whom I do not know, but simply say that 
the confederate agents, Jacob Tompson, Larry McDonald, Clement Clay, 
and some others, had already accomplished enough villainy to make Wilkes 
Bat)th, on the first of the present year, believe that he had but to seek an 
interview with them. 

He visited the provinces once certainly, and three times it is believed, 
stopping in Montreal at St. Lawrence Hall, and banking four hundred and 
fifty-five dollars odd at the Ontario bank. This was his own money. I 
have myself seen his bank-book with the single entry of this amount. It 
was found in the room of Atzerott, at Kirkwood's Hotel, From this visit, 
whatever encouragement Booth received, he continued in systematic cor- 
respondence with one or more of those agents down to the commission of 
his crime. I dare not say how far each of these agents was implicated, 
My personal conviction is that they were neither loth to the miirder nor 
astonished when it had been done. They had money with discretion from 
the confederacy, though acting at discretion and outside of responsibility, 
and always, at every wild adventure, they instructed their dupes that each 
man took his life in his hand on every incursion into the north. So Beale 
took his, raiding on the great lakes. So Kennedy took his, on a midnight 
bonfire-tramp into the metropolis. So took the St. Albans raiders their 
lives in their palms, dashing into a peaceful town. And if these agents 
entertained Wilkes Booth's suggestion at all they plainly told him that he 
carried his life in his dagger's edge, and could expect from them neither 
aid nor exculpation. 

Some one or all of these agents furnished Booth with a murderer. Tlie 
fellow Wood or Payne, who stabbed Mr. Seward and was caught at Mrs. 
Surratt's house in Washington. He was one of three Kentucky brothers, 
all outlaws, and had himself, it is believed, accompanied one of his brothers, 
who is known to have been at St. Albans on the day of the bank-delivery. 
This Payne, besides being positively identified as the assassin of the 
Sewards, hiul no friends nor haunts in Washington. He was simply a dis- 
patched murderer, and after the night of the crime, struck northward of 
the frontier, instead of southward in the company of Booth. The proof, 
of this will follow in the course of the article. 

While 1 assert that the Canadian agents knew Booth and patted his back 
calling him, like AIncbeth, the " prince of cutthroats," I am equally cer. 
tain that Booth's project was unknown in Richmond. No word, nor writ- 
ten line, no clue of any sort has been found attaching Booth to thti coufeder 


42 The Life, Crime, and Capture of John Wilkes Booth. 

ate authorities. The most that can be urged to meet preposterous claims 
of this sort is, that out of the rebellion grew the murder; which is like 
attributing the measles to the creation of man. But McDonald and his 
party had money at discretion, and under their control the vilest fellows 
on the continent. Their personal influence over those errant ones amount- 
ed to omnipotence. Most of the latter were young and sanguine people, 
like Beale and Booth; their plots were made up at St. Catharine's, Toronto, 
and Montreal, and they have maintained since the war began, rebel mail 
routes between Canada and Richmond, leading directly passed Washington, 

If Booth received no positive instructions, he was at any rate adjudged 
a man likely to be of use, and therefore introduced to the rebel agencies 
in and around Washington. Doubtless by direct letter, or verbal instruo 
tion, he received a password to the house of Mrs. Surratt. 

Half applauded, half rebuffed by the rebel agents in Canada, Booth's 
impressions of his visit were just those which would whet him soonest for 
the tragedy. His vanity had been fed by the assurance that success d^ 
pended upon himself alone, and th&t as he had the responsibility he would 
absorb the fame ; and the method of correspondence was of that dark and 
mysterious shape which powerfully operated upon his dramatic tempera- 

What could please an actor, and the son of an actor, better than to mii>- 
gle as a principal in a real conspiracy, the aims of which were pseudo- 
patriotic, and the end so astounding that at its coming the whole globe 
would reel. Booth reasoned that the ancient world would not feel more 
sensitively the death of Julius Ccesar than the new the sudden taking off 
of Abraham Lincoln. 

And so he grew into the idea of murder. It became his business thought. 
It was his recreation and his study. He had not worked half so hard for 
histrionic success as for his terrible graduation into an assassin. He had 
fought often on the boards, and seen men die in well-imitated horror, with 
flowing blood upon his keen sword's edge, and the strong stride of mimio 
victory with which he flourished his weapon at the closing of the curtain- 
He embraced conspiracy like an old diplomatist, and found in the woman 
and the spot subjects for emulation. 

Southeast of Washington stretches a tapering peninsula, composed of 
four fertile counties, which at the remote tip make Point Lookout, and do 
not contain any town within them of more than a few hundred inhabitants. 
Tobacco has ruined the land of these, and slavery has ruined the people. 
Yet in t^e beginning they were of that splendid stock of Calvert and Lord 
Baltimore, but retain to-day only the religioij of the peaceful founder. I 
mention it is an exceptional and remarkable fact, that every conspirator in 
custody is by education a Catholic. These are our most loyal citizens else- 
where, but the western shore of Maryland is a noxious and pestilential place 
/or patriotism. The county immediately outside of the District of Columbia, 
to the south, is named Prince Gorgia's arid the pleasantest village of this 
county, close to Washington, is called Surrattsville. This consists of a 
few cabins at a cross-road, surrounding a fine old hotel, the master whereof^ 
giving the settlement his name, left the property to his wife, who for a long 
time carried it on with indifferent success. Having a son and several 
daughters, she moved to Washington soon after the beginning of the war 
and let the tavern to a trusty friend — one John Lloyd. Surrattsville has 
gained nothing in patronage or business from the war, except that it became 
at an early date, a rebel postoffice. The great secret mail from Matthias 
Creek, Virginia, to Port Tobacco, struck Surrattsville, and thence headed 

A Solution of the 2ilystery. 43 

off to the cast to Washingt-on, going meanderingly north. Of this postr 
route Mrs. Surratt was a manageress ; and John Lloyd, when he rented 
her hotel, assumed the responsibility of looking out for the mail, as w^ll 
the duty of making Mrs. Surratt at home when she chose to visit him. 

So Siirrattsville only ten miles from Washington, has been throughout 
the war a sect of conspiracy. It was like a suburb of Richmond, reaching 
quite up to the rival capital ; and though the few Unionists on the peninsula 
knew its reputation well enough, nothing of the sort came out until the 

Treason never found a better agent than Mrs. Surratt. She is a large, 
masculine, self-possessed female, mistress of her house, and as lithe a rebel 
as Belle Boyd or Mrs. Greenhough. She has not the flippantry and menace 
of the first, nor the social power of the second ; but the rebellion has found 
no fitter agent. 

At her country tavern and Washington home Booth was made welcome, 
and there began the muttered murder against the nation and mankind. 

The acquaintance of Mrs. Surratt in Lower Maryland undoubtedly sug- 
gested to Booth the route of escape, and made him known to his subse- 
quent accomplices. Last fall he visited the entire region, as far as 
Leonardstown, in St. Mary's county, professing to be in search of land but 
really hunting up confederates upon whom he could depend. At this time 
he bought a map, a fellow to which I have seen among Atzerott's effects, 
published at Buffalo for the rebel government, and marking at hap-hazard 
all the MaTvland villages, but without tracing the highroads at all. The 
absence of these roads, it w^ill be seen hereafter, very nearly misled Booth 
during his crippled flight. 

It could not but have struck Booth that this isolated part of Maryland 
ignorant and rebel to the brim, without telegraph or railways, or direct 
stage routes, belted with swamps and broken by dense timber, afforded 
extraordinary opportunities for shelter and escape. Only the coast survey 
had any adequate map of it ; it was ultima thiile to all intents, and treason 
might subsist in welcome upon it for a thousand years. 

When Booth cast around him for assistance, he naturally selected those 
men whom he could control. The first that recommended himself was one 
Harold, a youth of inane and plastic character, carried away by the example 
of an actor, and full of execrable quotations, going to show that he was an 
imitator of the master spirit both in text and admiration. This Harold 
was a gunner, and therefore versed in arms ; he had traversed the whole 
lower portion of Maryland, and was therefore a geographer as w^ell as a 
tool. His friends lived at every farmhouse between Washington and 
Leonardsville, and he was respectably enough connected, so as to make his 
association creditable as well as useful. 

Harold, whose picture I have seen, is a dull-faced, shallow boy, smooth- 
haired, and provincial ; he had no money nor employment, except that he 
clerked for a druggist a while, until he knew Wilkes Booth, who looked at 
him only once, and bought his soul for a smile. Harold was infatuated by 
Booth as a woman by a soldier. He copied his gait and tone, adopted his 
opinions, and was unhappy out of his society. Booth gave him money, 
mysteriously obtained, and together they made the acquaintance of young 
John Surratt, son of the conspiratress. 

Young Surratt does not appear to have been a puissant spirit in the 
scheme ; indeed, all design and influence therein was absorbed by Mrs. 
Surratt and Booth. The latter was the head and heart of the plot ; Mrs. 
Surratt was his anchor, and the rest of the boys were disciples to Iscariot 

- ■-IT'ir- 

4 The Life, Crime, and Capture of John Wilkes Booth. 

aud Jezebel. John Surratt, a youth of strong Southern phvsiognoiiiy', 
bejirdless and lanky, knew of the murder and connived at it. "Sam" 
Arnold and one McLaughlin were to have been parties to it, but backed 
out in the end. They all relied upon Mrs. Surratt, and took their "cues" 
from Wilkes Booth. 

The conspiracy had its own time and kept its own counsel. Murder 
except among the principals, was seldom mentioned except by genteel im^ 
plication. But they all publicly agreed that Mr, Li;icoln ought to be shot, 
and that the North was a race of fratricides. Much was said of Brutus, 
and Booth repeated heroic passages to the delight of Harold, who learned 
them also, and wondered if he was not born to greatness. 

In this growing darkness, where all rehearsed cold-hearted murder, 
Wilkes Booth grew great of stature. He had found a purpose consonant 
with his evil nature and bad influence over weak men ; so he grew moodier, 
more vigilant, more plausible. By mien and temperament he was born to 
handle a stiletto. We have no face so markedly Italian ; it would stand 
for Caesar Borgia any day in the year. All the rest were swayed or per- 
suaded by Booth ; his schemes were three in order : 

1st. To kidnap the President and Cabinet, and run them South or blow 
tliem up. 

2d. Kidnapping failed, to murder the President and the rest and seek 
shelter in the confederate capital. 

3d. The rebellion failed, to be its avenger, and throw the country into 
consternation, while he escaped by the unfrequented parts of Maryland. 

When this last resolution had been made, the plot was both contracted 
»nd extended. There were made two distinct circles of confidants — those 
aware of the meditated murder, and those who might shrink from murder, 
though willing accessories for a lesser object. Two colleagues for blood 
were at once accepted — Payne and Atzerott. 

The former I have sketched ; he is believed to have visited Washington 
once before, at Booth's citation ; for the murder was at first fixed for the 
day of inauguration. Atzerott was a fellow of German descent, who had 
led a desperate life at Port Tobacco, where he was a house-painter. He 
had been a blockade-runner across the Potomac, and a mail-carrier. 
When Booth and Mrs. Surratt broke the design to him, with a suggestion 
that there was wealth in it, he embraced the offer at once, and bought a 
dii"k and pistol. Payne also came from the North to W ashingt(jn, and, 
as fate would have it, the President was announced to appear at Ford's 
theater in public. There the resolve of blood was reduced to a definite 

On the night before the crime Booth found on whom he could rely. 
John Surratt Wiis sent northward by his mother on Thursday. Sam 
Arnold and McLaughlin, each of whom was to kill a cabinet officer, grew 
pigeon-livered and ran away. Harold true to his partiality, lingered 
around Booth to the end ; Atzerott went so f;ir as to take his knife and 
pistol to Kirkwood's, where President Johnson was stopping, and hid them 
under the bed. But- either his counige failed, or a trifling accident de- 
ranged his plan. But Payne, a professional murderer, stood "game," and 
fought his way over prostrate figures to his sick victim's bed. There was 
great confusion and terror among the tacit and rash conspirators on Thurs- 
day night. They hiid looked upon the plot as of a melodrama, and found 
to their horror that John W^ilkes Booth meant to do murder. 

Six weeks before the murder, young John Surratt had taken two splen- 
did T^peating carbines to Surrattville and told John Lloyd to secret them. 

•i ^ I ■ " - ^ ' ^ 

A Solution of the Mystery. "^^ 

Tiio latter made a hole in the waiuscotting and suspended them fioui 
stiin<.'-s, so that they fell within the plastered wall of the room below. On 
the \Ki\-s afternoon of the murder, Mrs. Surratt was driven to Surrattsville, 
and she told John Lloyd to have the carbines ready because they would 
be called for that night. Harold was made quartermaster, and hired the 
horses. He and Atzerott were mounted between 8 o'clock and the time 
of the murder, and riding about the streets together. 

The whole party was prepared for a long ride, as their spurs and gaunt- 
lets show. It may have been their design to ride in company to the Lower 
Potomac, and by their numbers exact subsistence and transportation ; but 
all edifices of murder lack a corner stone. We only know that Booth ate 
and talked well during the day ; that he never seemed so deeply involved 
in ' oil," and that there is a hiatus between his supper here and his appear- 
ance at Ford's theater. 

Lk)yd, I may interpolate, ordered his wife a few days before the rnurder 
to go on a visit to Allen's Fresh. She says she does not know why she 
was so sent away, but swears that it is so. Harold, three weeks before the 
murder, visited Port Tobacco, and said that the next time the boys heard 
of him he would be in Spain ; he added that with Spain there was no extra- 
dition treaty. He said at Surrattsville that he meant to make a barrel of 
money, or his neck would stretch. 

Atzerott said that if he ever came to Port Tobacco again he would be 
rich enough to buy the whole place. 

Wilkes Booth told a friend to go to Ford's on Friday night and see the 
best acting in the world. 

At Ford's theater, on Friday night, there were many standers in the 
neighborhood of the do-^r, and along the dress circle in the direction of the 
private box where the President sat. 

The play went on pleasantly, though Mr. Wijkes Booth an observer of 
the audience, visited the stage and took note of the positions. His alleged 
associate, the stage carpenter, then received quiet orders to clear the pas- 
sage by the wings from the prompter's post to the stage door. All this 
time, Mr. Lincoln, in his family circle, unconscious of the death that crowd- 
ed fast upon him, watched the pleasantry and smiled and felt heartful of 

Suddenly there was a murmur near the audience door, as of a man 
speaking above his bound. He said : 

" Nine o'clock and forty -five minutes !" 

These words were reiterated fnjm mouth to mouth until they passed the 
theater door, and were heard upon the sidewalk. 

Directly a voice cried, in the same slightly-raised monotone : 

" Nine o'clock and fifty minutes ! " 

This also passed from man to man, until it touched the street like a 

" Nine o'clock and fifty-five minutes !" said the same relentless voice, 
after the next interval, each of which narrowed to a lesser span the life of 
the good President. 

Ten o'clock here sounded, and conspiring echo said in reverberation : 

" Ten o'clock !" 

So like a creeping thing, from lip to lip, went : 

" Ten o'clock and five minutes." 

(An interval.) 

'' Ten <j' clock and ten minutes !" 

At this instant Wilkes Booth appeared in the door of the theater, and 

^-i\ ...»— '-'^ v-- .-'-■^-•^ •-■ i^-^Wi^i 


46 7%e Life, Crime, and Capture of John Wilkes Booth. 

the men who had repeated the time so faithfully and so ominously scattered 
at his coming, as at some warning phantom. Fifteen minutes afterwards 
the telegraph wires were cut. 

All this is so dramatic that I fear to excite a laugh when I write it. But 
it is true and proven, and I do not say it but report it. 

All evil deeds go wrong. While the click of the pistol, taking tho 
President's life, went like a pang through the theater, Payne was spilling 
blood in Mr. Seward's house from threshold to sick chamber. But 
Booth's broken leg delayed him or made him lose his general calmness, 
and he and Harold left Payne to his fate. 

I have not adverted to the hole bored with a gimlet in the entry door 
of Mr. Lincoln's box, and cut out with a penknife. The theory that the 
pistol-ball of Booth passed through this hole is exploded. And the stage 
carpenter may have to answer for this little orifice with all his neck. For 
when Booth leaped from the box he strode straight across the stage by 
the footlights, reaching the prompter's post, which is immediately behind 
that private box opposite Mr. Lincoln. From this box to the stage door 
iu the rear, the passage-way leads behind the ends of the scenes, and if 
generally either closed up by one or more withdrawn scenes, or so narrow 
that only by doubling and turning sidewise can one pass along. On thi? 
fearful night, however, the scenes were so adjusted to the murderer's de- 
sign that he had a free aisle from the foot of the stage to the exit door. 

Within fifteen minutes after the murder the wires were severed entirely 
around the city, excepting only a secret wire for government uses, which 
leads to Old Point. I am told that by this wire the government reached 
the fortifications aro\ind Washington, first telegraphing all the way to Old 
Point, and then back to the outlying forts. This information comes to me 
from s) many creditable channels that I must concede it. 

Payne, having, as he thought, made an end of Mr. Seward — which 
would have been the case but for Robinson, the nurse — mounted his 
horse, and attempted to find Booth. But the town was in alarm, and he 
galloped at once for the open country, taking as he imagined, the proper 
)-oad for the East Branch. He rode at a killing pace, and when near 
Fort Lincoln, on the Baltimore pike, his horse threw him headlong. Afoot 
iiud bewildered, he resolved to return to the city, whose lights he could 
plainly see; but before doing so he concealed himself some time, and 
made some almost absurd efforts to disguise himself. Cutting a cross 
section from the woolen undershirt which covered his muscular arm, he 
made a rude c;ip of it, and threw away his bloody coat. This has since 
been found in the woods, and blood has been found also on his bosom and 
sleeves. He also spattered himself plentifully with mud and clay, and, 
taking an abandoned pick from the deserted intrenchments near by, he 
struck at once for Washington. 

By the providence which always attends murder, he reached ISivs. Sur- 
ratt's door just as the officers of the government were arresting her. 
They seized Payne at once, who had an awakward lie to urge in his de- 
fense — that he had come there to dig a trench. That night he dug a trench 
deep and broad enough for both of them to lie in forever. They washed 
his hands, and found them soft and womanish ; his pockets contained 
tooth and nail brushes and a delicate pocket knife. All this apparel con- 
sorted ill with his assumed character. He is, without doubt, Mr. Seward's 
attempted murderer. 

Coarse, and hard, and calm, Mrs. Surratt shut up her house after the 
murder, and waited with her daughters till the officers came. She was im- 

A Solution of the Mystery. 47 

perturbable, and rebuked her girls for weeping, and WQuld have gone to 
jail like a statue, but that in her extremity, Payne knocked at her door. 
He had come, he said, to dig a ditch for Mrs, Surratt, whom he very well 
knew. But Mrs. Surratt protested that she had ever seen the man at all, 
and had no ditch to clean. 

" How fortunate, girls," she said, " that these officers arc here ; this 
man miijht have murdered us all." 

Her effrontery stamps her a-s worthy of companionship with Booth. 
Payne has been identified by a lodger of Mrs. Surratt's, as having twice 
visited the house under the name of Wood. The girls will render valua- 
ble testimony in the trial. If John Surratt were in custody the links would 
be complete. 

Atzerott had a room almost directly over Vice-President Johnson's. He 
had all the materials to do murder, but lost spirit or opportunity. He ran 
away so hastily that all his arms and baggage were discovered ; a tremen- 
dous bowie-knife and a Colt's cavalry revolver were found between the 
mattresses of his bed. Booth's coat was also found there, showing con- 
spired flight in company, and in it three boxes of cartridges, a map of 
Maryland, gauntlets for riding, a spur and a handkerchief marked with the 
name of Booth's mother — a mother's souvenir for a murderer's pocket ! 

Atzerott fled alone, and was found at the house of his uncle in Montgo- 
mery county. I do not know that any instrument of murder has ever made 
me thrill as when I drew this terrible bowie-knife from its sheath. Major 
O'Bierne, of New-York, was the instigator of Atzerott's discovery and 

I come now to the ride out of the city by the chief assassin and his dupe. 
Harold met Booth immediately after the crime in the next street, and 
they rode at a gallop past the Patent Office and over Capitol Hill. 

As they crossed the Eastern branch at Uniontown, Booth gave his proper 
name to the officer at the bridge. This, which would seem to have been 
foolish, was, in reality, very shrewd. The officers believed that one of 
Booth's accomplices had given this name in order to put them out of the 
real Booth's track. So they made effijrts elsewhere, and so Booth got a 
start. At midnight, precisely, the two horsemen stopped at Surrattsville, 
Booth remaining on his nag while Harold descended and knocked lustily at 
the door. Lloyd, the landlord, came down at once, when Harold pushed 
past him into the bar, and obtained a bottle of whiskey, some of which he 
gave to Booth immediately. While Booth was drinking, Harold went up 
stairs and brought down one of the carbines. Lloyd started to get the 
other, but Harold said : 

" We don't want it ; Booth has broken his leg and can't carry it." 

So the second carbine remained in the hall, where the officers afterward 
found it. 

As the two horsemen started to go off, Booth cried out to Lloyd : 

" Do you want to hear some news 1" 

" I don't care much about it," cried Lloyd, by his own account. 

"We have murdered," said Booth, "the Pres'dent and Secretary of 
State !" 

And with this horrible confession. Booth and Har^^ld dashed away in the 
midnight, across Prince George's county. 

On Saturday, before sunrise. Booth and Harold, who had ridden all night 
without stopping elsewhere, reached the house of Dr. Mudd, three miles 
from Bryantown. They contracted with him for twenty-five dollars in 
greenbacks to set the broken leg. Harold, whi> kue^v \^r. Mudd, iutro- 

I ** " * '■■ ' >!.T, 'f^g *" ^" -**-- 

48 The Life, Crime, and Capture of John Wilkes Booth. 

ducetl Booth under another name, and stated that he had fallen froni his 
horse during the night. The doctor remarked of Booth that he draped the 
lower part of his face while t'he leg was being set; he was silent, and in 
pain. Having no splits in the house, they split up an old-fashioned wooden 
band-box and prepared them. The doctor was assisted, by an Englishman, 
who at the same time began to hew out a pair of crutches. The inferior 
bone of the left leg was brt)ken vertically across, and because vertically it 
did not yield when the crippled man walked upon it. 

The riding boot of Booth had to be cut from his foot : within were thb 
words "J. Wilkes."' The doctor says he did not notice these, but that 
visual defect may-C(jfst him his neck. The two men waited around the house 
all day, but toward evening they 'slipped their horses from the stable and 
rode away in the direction of Allen's Fresh. 

Below Bryantown run certain deep and slimy swamps, along the belt of 
these Booth and Harold picked up a negro named Swan, who volunteered 
to show them the road for two dollars ; they gave him five more to show 
them' the route to Allen's Fresh, but really wished, as their actions in- 
timated, to gain the house of one Sam. Coxe, a notorious rebel, and probably 
well advised of the plot. They reached the house at midnight. It is a 
fine dwelling, one of the best m Maryland. And at\er hallooing for some 
time, Coxe came down to the door himself As soon as he opened it and 
beheld who the strangers were, he instantly blew out a candle he held in his 
hand, and without a word pulled them into the house, the negro remaining 
in the yard. The confederates remained in COxe's house till 4 a. m., during 
which time the negro saw them drink and eat heartily ; but when they re- 
appeared they sjioke in a loud tone, so that Swan could hear them, against 
the hospitality of Coxe. All this was meant to influence the darkey ; but 
their motives were as apparent as their words. He conducted them three 
miles further on, when they told him that now they knew the way, and 
giving him five dollars more — making twelve in all — told him to go back. 

But when the negro, in the dusk of the morning, looked after them as he 
receded, he saw that both horses' heads were turned once more toward 
Coxe's, and it was this man, doubtless, who harbored the fugitives from 
Sunday to Thursday, aided, possibly, by such neighbors as the Wilsons and 

At the point where Booth crossed the Potomac the shores are very shal- 
low, and one must wade out some distance to where a boat will float. A 
white man came up here with a canoe on Friday, and tied it by a stone 
anchor. Between seven and eight o'clock it disappeared, and in the after- 
noon some men at work in Virginia, saw Booth and Harold land, tie the 
boat's rope to a -stone, and fling it ashore, and strike at once across a 
ploughed field for King George Court House. Many folks entertained them 
without doubt, but we positively hear of them next at Port Royal Ferry, 
and then at Garrett's farm. 

I close this article with a list of all who were at Garrett's farm on the 
death of Booth. 

1. E. J. Conger, ) „ , ,. 

f» T • A n < r Detective!. 

2. Lieut. Ba,ter, J 

3. Surgeon from Port Royal, 

4. Four Garrett daughters. 

5. Harold, Booth's accomplice, 

Soldiers. — Company H, Sixteenth New- York Volunteer Cavalry, Lieu- 
*enant Ed. P. Doherty commandmg: Corporals A. Neugarten, J. Waiy, 
M, Hornsby : Privates J. Mellington, D. Barker, E. Parylays; W. Mock. 

■*< «j.j 


The Detectives' Stories, 49 

gart ; Corporals — Zimmer (Co. C), M. Taenaek ; Privates H. Pardman, 
J. Meiyers, W. Bunin, F. Meekdank, G. Haioh, J. Kaien, J. Kelly, J. 
Samger (Co. M), G. Zeichton, — Steinbury, L. Sweech (Co. A), A. Sweech 
(Co. H), F. Diacts ; Sergeant Wandell ; Corporals Lannekey, Winacky ; 
Sergeant Corbett (Co. L). 

Sergeant Corbett, who shot Booth, was the only man of the command 
belonging to the same company with Lieutenant Doherty, Commandant, 

L E T T E R V I . 


Washington, Mav 2 — e. m. 

The police resources of the country have been fairly tested during the 
past two weeks. Under the circumstances, the shrewdness and energy of 
both municipal and national detectives have been proven good. The latter 
body has had a too partial share of the applause thus far, while the great 
efforts of our New-York and other officers have been overlooked. In the 
crowning success of Doherty, Conger, and Baker on the Virginia side of 
the water we have forgotten the as vigorous and better sustained pursuit 
on the Maryland side. 

Yet the Secretary of War has thanked all concerned, especially referring 
to many excellent leaders in the long hunt through Charles and St. Mary's 
counties. Here the military and civil forces together amounted to quite a 
small army, and constituted by far the largest police organization ever 
known on this side of the Aclantic. 

I think the adventures and expedients of these public servants worthy of 
a column. It would be out of all proportion to pass them by when we 
devote a dozen lines to every petty larceny and shoplifting. 

On the Friday night of the murder the departments were absolutely 
paralyzed. The murderers had three good hours for escape ; they had 
evaded the pursuit of lightning by snapping the telegraph wires, and rumor 
filled the town with so many reports that the first valuable hours, which 
should have been used to follow hard after them, were consumed in feverish 
efforts to know the real extent of the assassination. 

Immediately afterwards, however, or on Saturday morning early, the 
provost and special police force got on the scent, and military in squada 
were dispatched close upon their heels. 

Three grand pursuit* were organized : one reaching up the north bank 
of the Potomac toward Chain bridge, to prevent escape by that direction 
into Virginia, where Mosby, it was suspected, waited to hail the murderers; 

A second starting from Richmond, Va., northward, forming a 
advancing picket or skirmish line between the Blue Ridge and the br;>ad 
sea-running streams ; 

A third to scour the peninsula towards Point Lookout. 

The latter region became the only one well examined ; the northern x- 
pedition failed until advised from below to capture Atzerott, and faiit-d to 
capture Payne. Yet there were cogent probabilities that the assassin bad 
taken this route; for Mosby would have given them the right hand of 

4 » 

50 The Life, Crime, and Captvre of John Wilkes Booth. 

When that guerrilla heard of Booth's feat, said Captain Jett, tio ei 
claimed : 

" Now, by ! I could take that man in my arms." 

i Washington, as a precautionary measure, was doubly picketed at once; 
the authorities in all northern towns advised of the personnel of the mur 
derer, and requests made of the detective chiefs in Baltimore, Philadelphia, 
and New-York, to forward to Washington without delay their best decoys. 

A court of inquiry was organized on the moment, and early in the week 
succeeding rewards were offered. An individual, and not the government, 
offered the first rewards. 

There were two men without whom the hunt would have gone astray 
many times. 

John S. Young, chief of the New- York detective force, a powerful and 
resolute man, whose great weight and strength are matched by boundless 
energy, and both subordinate to a head as clear as the keen and searching 
•warrant of his eye. This man has been in familiar converse with every 
rebel agent in the Canadas, and is feared by them as they fear the fates of 
Beall and Kennedy. Without being a sensationist, he has probably ren- 
dered the cleverest services of the war to the general government. They 
sent for him immediately afler the tragedy, and he stopped on the way for 
his old police companion. Marshal Murray. The latter's face and figure 
are familiar to all who ^now New-York ; he resembles an admiral on his 
quarter-deck ; he is a detective of fair and excellent repute, and has a some- 
what novel pride in what he calls " the most beautiful gallows in the 
United States." 

These officials were ordered to visit Colonel Ingraham's office and examine 
the little evidence on hand. They and their tried officers formed a junction 
on Sunday afternoon with the large detective force of Provost-Marshal 
Major O'Bierne. The latter commands the District of Columbia civil and 
"''^.. military police. lie is a New-Yorker and has been shot through the body 

in the field. 

The detective force of Young and Murray consisted of Officers Radford, 
Kelso, Elder, and Hoey, of New- York; Deputy -Marshal Newcome, foi^ 
merly of The World's city staff; Officers Joseph Pierson and West, of 

Major O'Bierne's immediate aids were Detectives John Lee, Lloyd, 
Gavigan, Coddingham, and Williams. 

A detachment of the Philadelphia detective police force — Officers Tag- 
gert, George Smith, and Carlin, reporting to Colonel Baker — went in the 
direction of the North Pole; everybody is on the que vive for them. 

To the provost-marshal of Baltimore, MacPhail, who knew the tone and 
bearino- of the ooiintry throughout, was joined the zealous co-operation of 
Officer Lloyd, of Major O'Bierne's staff, Aho had a personal feeling against 
the secessionists of lower Maryland ; they had once driven him away for 
his loyalty, and had reserved their hospitality for assassins. 

Lieutenant Commander Gushing,! am informed, also rendered important 
services to the government in connection with the police operations. Vol- 
unteer detectives, such as Ex-Marshal Lewis and Angelis, were plentiful; 
it is probable that in the ptch of the excitement five hundred detective 
officers were in and around Washington city. At the same time the secret 
police of Richmond abandoned their ordinary business, and devoted thenir 
selves solely to this overshadowing offense. 

No citizen, in these terrible days, knows what eyes were upon him as he 
talked and walked, nor how his stature and guise were keenly scanned by 

The Detectives' Stories. 51 

■ folks who passed him absent-faced, yet with his mental portrait carefully 
turned over, the while some invisible hand clutched a revolver, and held a 
life or death challenge upon his lips. 

The military forces were commanded by Colonel Welles, of the Twenty- 
sixth Michigan regiment, whose activity and zeal were amply sustained by 
Colonel Clendenning, of the Eighth Dlinois cavalry, probably the finest 
body of horse in the service. 

The first party to take the South Maryland road was dispatched by Ma- 
jor O'Bierne, and commanded by Lieutenant Lovett, of the Veteran Re- 
serves. It consisted of twenty-five cavalry men, with detectives Cotting- 
ham, Lloyd, and Gavigan ; these latter, with the lieutenant, kept well in 
advance. They made inquiries of a soothing and cautious churactpr, but 
saw nothing suspicious until they arrived at Piscataway, where an unknown 
man, some distance ahead, observed them, and took to the woods. This 
was on Sunday night, forty hours after the murder. 

Guided by Officer Lloyd, the little band dashed on, arriving at Bryan- 
town on Tuesday. Here they arrested John Lloyd, of the hotel ut Surratts- 
ville, of whom they had previously inquired for the murderers, and he had 
said positively that he neither knew them nor had seen anybody whatever 
on the night of the crime. He was returning in a wagun, with his wife, 
w^hom he had ordered, the day before, to go on a visit to Allen's Fresh. 
The Monday afterward he started to bring her back. This woman, fright- 
ened at the arrest, acknowledged at once that in her husband's conduct 
there was some inexplicable mystery. lie was taciturn and defiant as be- 
fore, until confronted by some of his old Union neighbors. 

The few Unionists of Prince George's and Charles counties, long perse 
cuted and intimidated, now came forward and gave important testimony. 

Among these was one Roby, a very fat and very zealous old gentleman, 
whose professions were as ample as his perspiration. lie told the officers 
of the secret meetings for conspiracy's sake at Lloyd's Hotel, and although 
a very John Gilpin on horseback, rode here and there to his great loss of 
wind and repose, fastening fire-coals upon the guilty or suspected. 

Lloyd was turned over to Mr. Cottingham, who had established a jail at 
Robytown ; that night his house was searched, and Booth's carbine lound 
hidden in the wall. Three days afterward, Lloyd himself confessed — and 
his neck is quite nervous at this writing. 

This little party, under the untiring Lovett, examined all the farm-houses 
below Washington, resorting to many shrewd expedients, and taking note 
of the great swamps to the east of Port Tobacco ; they reached Newport 
at last and fastened tacit guilt upon many residents. 

Beyond Bryan^own they overhauled the residence of Doctor Mudd and 
found Booth's boot. This was before Lloyd confessed, and was the first 
positive trace the officers had that they were really close upon the assas- 

I do not recall anything more wild and startling than this vague and dan- 
gerous exploration of a dimly known, hostile, and ignorant country. To 
these few detectives we owe much of the subsequent successful prosecution 
of the pursuit. They were the Hebrew spies. 

By this time the country was filling up with soldiers, but previously a 
second memorable detective party went out under the personal command 
of Mijor O'Bierne. It consisted, besides that officer, of Lee, D'Angeilis, 
Callahan, Hoey, Bostwick, Hanover, Bevins, and McHenry, and embarked 
at Washington on a steam-tug for Ghappell's Point. Here a military sta- 
tion had long been established for the prevention of blockade and mail-rua 

52 The Li/e, Crime, and Capture of John Wilkes Booth. 

ning across the Potomac. It was commanded by Lieutenant Laverty,and 
garrisoned by sixty-five men. On Tuesday night, Major O'Bierne's party 
reached this place, and soon afterwards, a telegraph station was established 
here by an invaluable man to the expedition. Captain Beckwitn, General 
Grant's chief cypher operator, who tapped the Point Lookout wire, and 
placed the War Department within a moment's reach of the theater of 

Major O'Bierne's party started at once over the worst road in the world 
for Port Tobacco. 

If any plrice in the world is utterly given over to depravity, it is Port 
Tobacco. From this town, by a sinuous creek, there is flat bo;it navigation 
to the Potomac, and across that river to Mattox's creek. Before the war 
Port Tobacco was the seat of a tobacco aristocracy and a haunt of negro 
traders. It passed very naturally into a rebel post for blockade-runners 
and a rebel post-office general. "Gambling, corner fighting, and shooting 
matches were its lyceum education. Violence and ignorance had every suf- 
/rage in the town. Its people were smugglers, to all intents, and there was 
nei'ther Bible nor geography to the whole region adjacent. Assassination 
was never very unpopular at Port Tobacco, and when its victim was a north- 
ern president it became quite heroic. A month before the murder a pro- 
vost-marshal near by wa? slain in his bed-ehamber. For such a town and 
district the detective police were the only effective missionaries. The hotel 
here is called the Brawner House ; it has a bar in the nethermost cellar, 
and its patrons, carousing in that imperfect light, look like the denizens of 
some burglar's crib, talking robbery between their cups; its dining-room 
is dark and tumble-down, and the cuisine bears traces of Caffir origin ; a 
barbecue is nothing to a dinner there. The Court House of Port Tobacco 
is the most superflous house in the place, except the church. It stands in 
the center of the town in a square, and the dwellings lie about it closely, 
as if to throttle justice. Five hundred people exist in Port Tobacco ; life 
there reminds me, in connection with the slimy river and the adjacent 
swamps, of the great reptile period of the world, when iguanadons and 
pterodactyls and pleosauri ate each other. 

Into this abstract of Gomorrah the few detectives went like angels who 
visited Lot. They pretended to be enquiring for friends, or to have busi 
ness designs, and the first people they heard of were Harold and Atzerott. 
The latter had visited Port Tobacco three weeks before the murder, and in- 
timated at that time his design of fleeing the country. But everybody 
denied having seen him subsequent to the crime. 

Atzerott had been in town just prior to the crime. He had been living with 
a widow woman named Mrs. Wheeler, by whom he had several children, and 
she was immediately called upon by Major O'Bierne. He did not tell her 
what Atzerott had done, but vaguely hinted that he had committed some 
terrible crime, and that since he had done her wrong, she could vindicate 
both herself and justice by telling his whereabouts. The woman admitted 
that Atzerott had been her bane, but she loved him, and refused to betray 


His trunk was found in her garret, and in it the key to his paint shop m 
Port Tobacco. The latter was fruitlessly searched, but the probable where- 
abouts of Atzerott in Mongomery county obtained, and Major O'Bierne tele- 
graphing there immediately, the desperate fellow was found and locked up. 
A man named Crangle who had succeeded Atzerott in Mrs. Wheeler's pli- 
able afit'.ctions, was arrested at once arfd put in jail. A number of disloyal 






The Detectives' Stories. 55 

people were indicated or "spotted" as in no wise angry at the President's 
taking oHj and for all such a provost prison was established. 

A few miles from Port Tobacco dwelt a solitary woman, who, when ques- 
tioned, said that for many nights she had heard, after she had retired to bed, 
a man enter her cellar and lie there all night, departing before dawn. Ma- 
jor O'Bierne and the detectives ordered her to place a lamp in her window 
the next night she heard him enter, and at dark they established a cordon 
of armed officers around the place. At midnight punctually she exhibited 
the light, when the officers broke into the house and thoroughly searched it, 
without result. Yet the woman positively asserted that she had heard the 
man enter. 

It was afterward found that she was of diseased mind. 

By this time the military had come up in considerable numbers, and Ma- 
jor O'Bierne was enabled to confer with Major Wait, of the Eighth Illi- 

The major had pushed on Monday night to Leonardstown, and pretty 
well overhauled that locality. 

It was at this time that preparations were made to hunt the swamps 
around Chapmantown, Beantovvn, and Allen's Fresh. Booth had been en- 
tirely lost since his departure from Mudd's house, and it was believed that 
he had either pushed on for the Potomac or taken to the swamps. The 
officers sagaciously determined to follow him to the one and to explore the 

The swamps tributary to the various branches of the Wicomico river, 
of which the chief feeder is Allen's creek, bear various names, such as Jor- 
dan's swamp, Atchall's swamp, and Scrub swamp. There are dense growths 
pi dogwood, gum, and beech, planted in sluices of water and bog ; and their 
width varies from a half mile to four miles, while their length is upwards 
of sixteen miles. Frequent deep ponds dot this wilderness place, with here 
and there a stretch of dry soil, but no human being inhabits the malarious 
extent ; even a hunted murderer would shrink from hiding there. Serpents 
and slimy lizards are the only denizens ; sometimes the coon takes refuge 
in this desert from the hounds, and in the soft mud a thousand odorous 
muskrats delve, with now and then a tremorous otter. But not even the 
hunted negro dares to fathom the treacherous clay, nor make himself a fel- 
low of the slimy reptiles which reign absolute in this terrible solitude. Here 
the soldiers prepa.'ed to seek for the President's assassin, and no search of 
the kind has ever been so tnorough and patient. The Shawnee, in his strong 
hold of despair in the heart of Okeefeuokee, would scarcely have changed 
homes with Wilkes Booth and David Harold, hiding in this inhuman 

The military forces deputed to pursue the fugitives were seven hundred 
men of the Eighth Illinois cavalry, six hundred men of the Twenty-second 
Colored troops, and one hundred men of the Sixteenth New York. These 
swept the swamps by detachments, the mass of them dismounted, with 
cavalry at the belts of clearing, interspersed with detectives at frequent in- 
tervals in the rear. They first formed a strong picket cordon entirely 
around the swamps, and then, drawn up in two orders of battle, advanced 
boldly into the bogs by two lines of march. One party swept the swamps 
longitudinally, the other pushed straight across their smallest diameter. 

A similar march has not been made during the war ; the soldiers were 
only a few paces apart, and in steady order they took the ground as it came, 
now plunging to their arm-pits in foul sluices of gangrened water, now 

The Life, Crhne, and Capture of John \Vilke$ Booth. 

hopelessly submerged in slime, now attacked by legions of wood ticks, now 
tempting some unfaithful log or greenishly solid morass, and plunging to 
the tip of the skull in poison stagnation ; the tree boughs rent their uni- 
forms ; they came out upon dry land, many of them vithout a rag of gar- 
ment scratched, and gashed, and spent, repugnant to themselves, and dis- 
gusting to those who saw them ; but not one trace of Booth or Harold was 
any where found. Wherever they might be, the swamps did not contain 

While all this was going on, a force started from Point Lookout, and 
swept the narrow necks of Saint Mary's quite up to Medley's Neck. To 
complete the search in this part of the country, Colonel Wells and Major 
O'Bierne started with a force of cavalry and infantry for Chappel Point; 
they took the entire peninsula as before, and marched in close skirmish 
line across it, but without finding anything of note. The matter of inclosing 
a house was by cavalry advances, which held all the avenues till mounted 
detectives came up. Many strange and ludicrous adventures occured on 
each of these expeditions. While the forces were going up Cobb's neck, 
there was a counter forde coming down from Allen's Fresh. 

Major O'Bierne started for Leonardstown with his detective force, and 
played off Lave rty as Booth, and Hoey as Harold. These two advanced 
to fiirm-houses and gave their assumed names, asking at the same time for 
assistance and shelter. They were generally avoided, except by one man 
named Claggert, who told them they might hide in the woods behind his 
house. When Claggert was arrested, however he stated that he meant to 
hide them only to give them up. While on this adventure, a man who had 
heard of the reward came very near shooting Laverty. The ruhe now be- 
came hazardous and the detectives resumed their real characters. % 

I have not time to go into the detail of this long and excellent hunt. My 
letter of yesterday described how the detectives of Mr. Young and Marshal 
Murray examined the negro Swan, and traced Booth to the house of Sam 
Coxe, the richest rebel in Charles county. There is a gap in the evidence 
between the arrival of Booth at this place and his crossing the Potomac 
above Swan Point, in a stolen or purposely-provided canoe. But as Coxe's 
house is only ten miles from the river, it is possible that he made the pas- 
sage of the intermediate country undiscovered 

One Mills, a rebel mail-carrier, also arrested, saw Booth and Harold 
lurking along the river bank on Friday ; he referred Major O'Bierne to one 
Claggert, a rebel, as having seen them also ; but Claggert held his tongue, 
and went to jail. On Saturday night. Major O'Bierne, thus assured, also 
crossed the Potomac with his detectives to Boon's farm, where the.fugi- 
tives had landed. While collecting information here a gunboat swung up 
the stream, and threatened to fire on the party. 

It was now night, and all the party worn to the ground with long travel 
and want of sleep. Lieutenant Laverty's men went a short distance down 
the country and gave up, but Major O'Bierne, with a single man, pushed all 
night to King George's court-house, and next day, Sumiay, re-em barked for 
Chappell's Point. Hence he telegraphed his information, and asked permis- 
sion to pursue, promising to catch the assassins before they reached Port 

rhis the department refused. Colonel Baker's men were delegated tc 
make th',-. pursuit with rhe able Lieutenant Doherty, and O'Bierne, who was 
the most active, and successful spirit in the chase, returned to Washington, 
cheerful and contented. 

The Martyr. 57 

At Mrs. Surratt's Washington house, at the Pennsylvania TTotol, Wash- 
ington, and at Surrattsville, the Booth plot was almost entirely arranged. 
These three places will be relics of conspiracy forever. 

Harold said to Lieutenant Doherty, after the latter had dragged him 
from the barn. 

" Who's that man in there * It can't be Booth ; he told me his name was 

He further said that he had begged food for Booth from house to house 
while the latter hid in the woods. 

The confederate captain, Willie Jett, who had given Booth a HP behind 
his saddle from Port Royal to Garrett's farm, was then courting a Mias 
Goldmann at Bowling Green ; his traveling companions were Lieutenants 
Ruggles and Burbridge. 

Payne, the assassin of the Sewards, was arrested by Officers, Sampson, 
of the sub-treasury, and Devoe, acting under General Alcott. The latter 
had besides, Officers Marsh and Clancy (a stenographer). 

The reward for the capture of Booth will be distributed between very 
many men. The negro. Swan, will get as much of it as he deserves. It 
amounts to about eiglity thousand dollars, but the War Department may in- 
increase it at discretion. The entire rewards amount to a hundred and 
sixty odd thousand. Major O'Bierne should get a large part of it as well. 

This story which I must close abruptly, deserves to be re-written, with 
all its accessory endeavours. What I have said is in skeleton merely, 
and far from exhaustive. 


Washingtoh, May 14. 

I am sitting in the President's office. He was here very lately, but he 
will not return to dispossess me of this high-backed chair he filled so long, 
nor resume his daily work at the table where I am writing. 

There are here only Major Hay and the friend who accompanies me. A 
bright-faced boy runs in and out, darkly attired, so that his fob-chain of gold 
is the only relief to his mourning garb. This is little Tad., the pet of the 
White House. That great death, with which the world rings, has made 
upon him only the light impression which all things make upon childhood. 
He will live to be a man pointed out everywhere, for his father's sake ; and 
as folks look at him, the tableau of the murder will seem to encircle him. 

The room is long and high, and so thickly hung with maps that the color 
of the wall cannot be discerned. The President's table at which I am seat- 
ed, adjoins a window at the farthest corner ; and to the left of my chair as 
I recline in it, there is a large table before an empty grate, around which 
there are many chairs, where the cabinet used to assemble. The carpet is 
trodden thin, and the brilliance of its dyes is lost. The furniture is of the 
formal cabinet class, stately and semi-comfortable; there are book cas«s, 

.S ... _ . __L. 

58 Tlie Life^ Crinu_ and Capture of John Wilkes Booth. 

sprinkled with the sparse library of a country lawyer, but lately plethoric, 
like the thin, body which has departed in its coffin. They are taking away 
Mr. Lincoln's private effects, to deposit them wheresoever his family may 
abide, and the emptiness of the place, on this sunny Sunday, revives that 
feeline: of desolation from which the land has scarce recovered. I rise 
from my seat and examine the maps; they are from the coast survey and 
engineer departments, and exhibit all the contested grounds of the war ; 
there are pencil lines upon them where some one has traced the route of 
armies, and planned the strategic circumferences of campaigns. Was it 
the dead President who so followed the march of empire, and dotted the 
sites of shock and overthrow 1 

Here is the Manassas country — here the long reach of the wasted Sheii- 
andoah ; here the wavy line of the James and the sinuous peninsula. The 
wide campagna of the gulf country sways in the Potomac breeze that fil- 
ters in at the window, and the Mississippi climbs up the wall, with blotches 
of blue and red to show where blood gushed at the bursting of deadly 
bombs. So, in the half-gloomy, half-grand apartment, roamed the tall and 
wrinkled figure whom the country had summoned from his plain home into 
mighty history, with the geography of the republic drawn into a narrow 
compass so that he might lay his great brown hand upon it everywhere. 
And walking to and fro, to and fro, to measure the destinies of arms, he 
often stopped, with his thoughtful eyes upon the carpet, to ask if his life 
were real and if he were the arbiter of so tremendous issues, or whether 
it was not all a fever-dream, snatched from his sofa in the routine office of 
the Prairie state. 

There is but one picture on the marble mantel over the cold grate — John 
Bright, a photograph. 

1 i an well imagine how the mind of Mr. Lincoln often went afiir to the 
face of Bright, who said so kindly things of him when Europp was mock- 
ing his homely guise and provincial phraseology. To Mr. Luico^^ ^'^hn 
Bright was the standard-bearer of America and democracy in the old 
world. He thrilled over Bright's bold denunciations of peer and " Privv 
lege," and stretched his long arm across the Atlantic to take that daring 
Quaker innovator by the hand. 

I see some books on the table ; perhaps they have lain there undisturbed 
since the reader's dimming eyes grew nerveless. A parliamentary manual, 
a Thesaurus, and two books of humor, " Orpheus C. Kerr," and " Artemus 
Ward." These last were read by Mr. Lincoln in the pauses of his hard 
day's labor. Their tenure here bears out the popular verdict of his par- 
tiality for a good joke ; and, through the window, from the seat of Mr. 
Lincoln, I see across the grassy grounds of the capitol, the broken shaft of 
the Washington Monument, the long bridge and the fort-tipped Heights of 
Arlington, reaching down to the shining river side. These scenes he looked 
at often to catch some freshness of leaf and water, and often raised the sash 
to let the world rush in where only the nation abided, and hence on that 
awful night, he departed early, to forget this room and its close applications 
in the abandon of the theater. 

I wonder if that were the least of Booth's crimes — to slay this public 
servant in the stolen hour of recreation he enjoyed but seldom. We 
worked his life out here, and killed him when he asked a holiday. 

Outside of this room there is an office, where his secretaries sat — a room 
more narrow but as long — and opposite this adjacent office, a second door, 
directly behind Mr. Lincoln's chair leads by a private passage to his family 
quarters. This passage is his only monument in the building; he added 


The Jdartyr. 59 

nor subtracted nothing else ; it tells a long story of duns and loiterers, 
contract-hunters and seekers for commissions, garrulous parents on paltry 
errands, toadies without measure and talkers without conscience. They 
pressed upon him through the great door opposite his window, and hat in 
hand, come courtsying to his chair, with an obsequious "Mr. President!" 

If he dared; though the chief magistrate and commander of the army an ' 
navy, to go out of the great door, these vampires leaped upon him with 
their Baliylonian pleas, and barred his walk to his hearthside. He could 
not insult them since it was not in his nature, and perhaps many of them 
had really urgent errands. So he calltnl up the carpenter and ordered a 
strategic route cut from his office to his hearth, and perhaps told of it after 
with much merriment. 

Here should be written the biography of his official life — in the room 
where have concentrated all the wires of action, and where have proceeded 
the resolves which vitalized in historic deeds. But only the great measures, 
however carried out, were conceived in this office. The little ones proceeded 
from other places. 

Here once came Mr, Stanton, saying in his hard and positive way : 

"Mr. Lincoln, I have found it expedient to disgrace and arrest General 

" Stanton," said Mr. Lincoln, with an emotion of pain, " when you con- 
sidered it necessary to imprison General Stone, I am glad you did not 
consult me about it." 

And for lack of such consultation. General Stone, I learn, now lies a 
maniac in the asylum. The groundless pretext, upon which he suffered the 
reputation of treason, issued from the Department of War — not from this 

But as to his biography, it is to be written by Colonel Nicolay and 
Major Hay. They are to go to Paris together, one as attache of legation, 
the other as consul, and while there, will undertake the labor. They are 
the only men who know his life jvell enough to exhaust it, having followed 
his official tasks as closely as they shared his social hours. 

Major Hay is a gentleman of literary force. Colonel Nicolay has a fine 
judgment of character and public measures. Together they should satisfy 
both curiosity and history. 

As 1 hear from my acquaintances here these episodes of the President's 
life, I recall many reminiscences of his ride from Springfield to Harrisburg, 
over much of which I passed. Then he lefl home and became an inhabi- 
tant of history. His face was solid and healthy, his step young, his speech 
and manner bold and kindly. I saw him at Trenton stand in the Legis- 
lature, and say, in his conversational intonation : 

" We may have to put the foot down firm." 

How should we have hung upon his accents then had we anticipated hia 
virtues and his fate. 

Death is requisite to make opinion grave. We looked upon Mr. Lincoln 
then as an amusing sensation, and there was much guffaw as he was re- 

farded by the populace ; he had not passed out of partisan ownership. 
<ittle by little, afterward, he won esteem, and often admiration, until the 
measure of his life was full, and the victories he had achieved made the 
world applaud him. Yet, at this date, the President was sadly changed 
Four years of perplexity and devotion had wrinkled his face, and stooped 
his shoulders, and the failing eyes that glared upon the play closed as hi? 
mission was completed, and the world had been educated enough to com 
prehend him. 

60 The Lifty Crime, and Capture of John Wilkes Booth. 

The White House has been more of a Republican mansion under his con- 
trol than for many administrations. Uncouth guests came to it ol'ten, 
typical of the simple western civilization of which he was a graduate, 
and while no coarse altercation has ever ensued, the portal has swung 
wide for five years. 

A friend, connected with a Washington newspaper, told me that he had 
occasion to see Mr. Lincoln one evening, and found that the latter had 
gone to bed. But he was told to sit down in the ofiice, and directly the 
President entered. He wore only a night shirt, and his long, lank hirsute 
limbs, as he sat down, inclined the guest to laughter. Mr. Lincoln dis- 
posed of his request at once, and manifested a desire to talk. So he 
reached for the cane which my friend carried and conversed in this manner: 

" I always used a cane when I was a boy. It was a freak of mine. My 
favorite one was a knotted beech stick, and I carved the head myself. 
There's a mighty amount of character in sticks. Don't you think so ? 
You have seen these fishing poles that fit into a cane? Well, that was an 
old idea of mine. Dogwood clubs were favorite ones with the boys. I 
'spose they use'em yet. Hickory is too heavy, unless you get it from h 
young sapling. Have you ever noticed how a stick in one's hand will 
change his appearance? Old women and witches would'nt look so without 
sticks. Meg Merrilies understands that." 

Li this way my friend, who is a clerk in a newspaper office, heard the 
President talk for an hour. The undress of the man and the witness of his 
subject would be staples for merriment if we did not reflect that his great- 
ness was of no conventional cast, that the playfulness of his nature and the 
simplicity of his illustration lightened public business but never arrested 

Another gentleman, whom I know, visited the President in high dudgeon 
one night. He was a newspaper proprietor and one of his editors had been 

" Mr. Lincoln," he said, " 1 have been off electioneering for your re-elec- 
tion, and in my absence you have, had my editor arrested. 1 won't stand 
it, sir. I have fought better administrations than yours." 

"Why, John," said the President, "I don't know much about it. I 
suppose your boys have been too euterprizing. The fact is, 1 don't inter- 
fere with the press much, but I suppose I am responsible." 

" I want you to order the man's release to-night," said the applicant. 
" I shan't leave here till I get it. In fact, 1 am the man who should be 
arrested. Why don't you send me to Capitol Hill ?" 

This idea pleased the President exceedingly. 'He laughed the other into 
good humor. 

" In fact," he said, " I am under restraint here, and glad of any pretext 
to release a journalist." 

So he wrote the order, and the writer got his liberty. 

It must not be inferred from this, however, that the President was a de- 
votee to I'terature. He had no professional enthusiasm for it. The liter- 
ary coterie of the Whiw; House got little flattery but its members were 
treated as agreeable citizens and not as the architects of any body's for- 

Willis went there much for awhile, but yielded to his old habit of gos- 
siping about the hall paper and the teapots. Emerson went there once, 
and w:is deferred to us if ho were anything but a phifosopher. Yet he sO' 
fer grasped the character of his host as to indite that noble humanitarian 
eulogy upon him, delivered at Concord, and printed in the Wobld. U 

The Martyr. 61 

will not do to say definitely in this notice how several occasional writers 
visited the White House, heard the President's views and assented to theni, 
and afterward abused him. But these attained no remembrance nor tart 
reproach from that least retaliatory of men. He harbored no malice, and 
is said to have often placed himself on the stand-point of Davis and Lee, 
and accounted for their defection while he could not excuse it. 

He was a good reader, and took all the leading New-York dailies every 
day. His secretaries perused them and selected all the items which would 
interest the President; these were read to him and considered. He bought 
few new books, but seemed ever alive to works of comic value; the vein 
of humor in him was not boisterous in its manifestations, but touched the 
geniality of his nature, and he reproduced all that he absorbed, to elucidate 
Bome new issue, or turn away argument by a laugh. 

As a jester, Mr. Lincoln's tendency was caricatured by the prints, but 
not exaggerated. He probably told as many stories as are attributed to 
him. Nor did he, as is averred, indulge in these jests on solemn occasions. 
No man felt with such personal intensity the extent of the casualities of 
his time, and he often gravely reasoned whether he could be in any way 
responsible for the bloodshed and devastation over which it was his duty 
to preside. 

An acquaintance of mine — a private — once went to him to plead for a 
man's life. He had never seen the man for whom he pleaded, and had no 
acquaintance with the man's family. Mr. Lincoln was touched by his dis- 
interestedness, and said to him : 

" U 1 were anything but the President, I would be constantly working 
as vou have done." 

Whenever a doubt of one's guilt lay on his mind, the man was spared 
by his direct interference. 

There was an entire absence in the President's character of the heroic ele- 
ment. He would do a great deed in deshabille as promptly as in full dress. 
He never aimed to be brilliant, unconsciously understanding that a great 
man's brilliancy is to be measured by the "wholeness" and synthetic cast 
of his career rather than by any fitful ebullitions. For that reason we look 
in vain through his messages for "points." His point was not to turn a sen- 
tence or an epigram, but to win an effect, regradless of the route to it. 

He was- coinmonplace in his talk, and Chesterfield would have had no 
patience with him ; his dignity of character lay in his uprightness rather 
than in his formal manner. Members of his government often reviewed 
him plainly in his presence. Yet he divined the true course, while they 
only argued it out. 

His good feeling was not only personal, but national. He had no pre- 
judice against any race or potentate. And his democracy was of a pi-acti- 
cal, rather than of a demonstrative, nature. He was not Marat, but Mo- 
reau — not Paine and Jefferson, but Franklin. 

His domestic life was like a parlor of night-time, lit by the equal grate 
of his genial and uniform kindness. Young Thaddy played with him 
upon the carpet ; Robert came home from the war and talked to his 
father as to a school-mate, he was to Mrs. Lincoln as chivalrous on the 
last day of his life as when he courted her. I have somewhere seen a 
picture of Henry IV. of France, riding his babies on his back : that was 
the President. 

So dwelt the citizen who is gone — a model in character if not in cere 
mony, for good men to come who will take his place in the same White 
House, and find their generation comparing them to the man thought 

62 The Life Crime and Capture of John Wilkes Booth. 

worthy of assassination. I am glad to sit here in his chair, where he has 
bent so often, — in the atmosphere of the household he purified, in the 
sight of the green grass and the blue river he hallowed by gazing upon, in 
the very centre of the nation he preserved for the people, and close the 
list of bloody deeds, of desperate fights of swift expiations, of renowned 
obsequies of which I have written, by inditing at his table the goodness 
of his life and the eternity of his memory. 


"Washington, May 26. 

The most exciting trial of our times has obtained a very meager com- 
memoration in all but its literal features. The evidence adduced in the 
course of it. has been too faithfully reported, through its far-fetched and 
monotonous irregularities, but nobody realizes the extraordinary scene 
from which so many columns emanate, either by aid of the reporters' 
scanty descriptions, or by the purblind sketches of the artists. 

Now that the evidence is growing vapid, and the obstinacy of the mili- 
tary commission has lost its coarse zest, we may find enough readers to 
warrant a fuller sketch of the conspirators' prison. 

About a mile below Washington, where the high Potomac Blufis meet 
the marshy border of the Eastern branch, stands the United States arsenal, 
a series of long, mathematically uninteresting brick buildings, with a 
broad lawn behind them, open to t-he water, and level military plazas, on 
-which are piled pyramids of shell and ball, among acres of cannon ana 
cannon-carriages, and caissons. A high wall, reaching circularly around 
these buildings, shows above it, as one looks from Washington, the barred 
windows of an older and more gloomy structure than the rest, which 
forms the city front of the group of which it is the principal. This was a 
penitentiary, but, long ago added to the arsenal, it has been re-transform- 
ed to a court-room and jail, and in its third, or uppermost story, the Milita- 
ry Commission is sitting. 

The main road to the arsenal is by a wide and vacant avenue, which 
abuts against a gate where automaton sentries walk, but the same gate can 
best be reached on foot by the shores of the Potomac, in the sight of the 
forts, the shipping, and Alexandria. 

The scene at the arsenal in time of peace is common-place enough, ex- 
cept that across the Eastern Branch the towers of the lunatic asylum, 
perched upon a height, look down baronially ; but this trial of murderers 
has made the spot a fair. 

A whole company of volunteers keeps the gate, through which are pass- 
ing cabs, barouches, officers' ambulances, and a stream of folks on foot; 
while farther along almost a regiment crosses the drive, their huddled shel- 
ter tents extending entirely across the peninsula. These are playing cards 
on the ground, and tossing quoits, and sleeping on their faces, while a gun- 
boat watches the river front, and under a circular wall a line of patrols, ten 
yards apart, go to and fro perpetually. 

It is 10 o'clock, and the court is soon to sit. Its members ride down in 
8«perb ambulances and bring their friends along to show them the maje.»ty 

The Trial. 63 

of justice. A perfect park of carriages stands by the door to the left, and 
from these dismount major-generals' wives, in rustling silks ; daughters of 
congressmen, attired like the lilies of the milliner ; little girls Mho hope to 
be young ladies and have come with " Pa," to look at the assassins ; even 
brides are here, in the fresh blush of their nuptials, and they consider the 
late spectacle of the review as good as lost, if the court-scene be not added 
to it. These tender creatures have a weakness for the ring of manacles, 
the sight of folks to be suspended in the air, the face of a woman confede- 
rate in blood. 

They chat with their polite guides, many of whom are gallant captains, 
and go one after another up the little flight of steps which leads to the 
room of the officer of the day. 

He passes them, if he pleases, up the crooked stairways, and when they 
have climbed three of these, they enter a sort of garret-room, oblong, and 
plastered white, and about as large as an ordinary town-house parlor. 

Four doors open into it — that by which we have entered, two from the 
left, where the witnesses wait, and one at the end, near the left far corner, 
"which is the outlet from the cells. 

A railing, close up to the stairway door, gives a little space in the fore- 
ground for witnesses ; two tables, transverse to this rail, are for the com- 
mission and the press, the first-named being to the right ; between these 
are a raised platform and pivot arm-chair for the witness ; below are the' 
sworn phonographers and the counsel for the accused, and then another 
rail like that seperating the crowd from the court, holds behind it the. 
accused and their guards. 

These are they who are living not by years nor by weeks, but by breaths. 
They are motley enough, for the most part, sitting upon a long bench with 
their backs against the wall, — ill-shaved, haggard, anxious, and the dungeon 
door at their left opens now and then to show behind it a moving bayonet. 
There are women within the court proper, edging upon the reporters, intro- 
duced there by a fussy usher, and through four windows filters the imper- 
fect daylight, making all things distinguishable,' yet shadowy. The coup 
d'ceil of this small and crowded scene is lively as a popular funeral. 

There is the witness with raised hand, pointing toward heaven, and look 
ing at Judge Holt. The gilt stars, bars, and orange-colored sashes of the 
commission ; the women's brilliant silks and bonnets ; the crowding spec- 
tators, with their brains in their eyes ; the blue coats of the guards ; the 
working scribes; and last of all the line of culprits, whose suspected guilt 
has made them worthy of all illustration. 

Between the angle of the wall and the studded door, under the heavy bar 
of dressed stone which marks above the thickness of the gaol, sits all alone 
a woman's figure, clothed in solemn black. Her shadowy skirt hides her 
feet, so that we cannot see whether they are riveted; her sleeves of sable 
sweep down to her wrist, and dark gloves cover the plumpness of her hand, 
■while a palm-leaf fan nods to and fro to assist the obscurity of her vail of 
crape, descending from her widow's bonnet. 

A solitai-y woman, beginning the line of coarse indicted men, shrinking 
beneath the scornful eyes of her sex, and the as bold survey of men more 
pitiful, may well excite, despite her guilt, a moment of sympathy. 

Let men remember that she is the mother of a son who has fled to save 
his forfeit life by deserting her to shame, and perhaps, to death. Let wo- 
men, who will not mention her in mercy, learn from her end, in all suc- 
ceeding wars, to make patriotism of their household duties and not incite 
to blood. 


64 The Life, Crime, and Capture of John Wilkes Booth. 

Mrs. Surratt is a graduate of that seminary which spits in soldiers' faces, 
denounces brave generals upon the rostrum, and cries out for an intermi- 
nable scaftold when all the bells are ringing peace. 

How far her wicked love influenced her to participation in the murder 
rests in her uwn breast, and up to this time she has not differed from mo- 
thers at large — to twist her own bow-string rather than build his gibbet. 

Beneath her shadowy bonnet, over her fan-tip, we see two large, sad 
eyes, rising and falling, and now and then when the fan sways to and fro, 
the hair just turning gray with trouble, and the round face growing wan 
and seamed with terrible reflection, are seen a moment crouching low, as if 
she would wish to grovel upon the floor and bury her forehead in her 
hands. -"^ 

Yet, sometimes, across Mrs. Surratt's face a stealthiness creeps — a sort 
of furtive, feline flashing of the eye, like that of one which means to leap 
sideways. At these times her face seems to grow hard and colorless, as if 
that tiger expression which Pradier caught upon the face of BrinviUiers and 
fastened into a masque, had been repeated here. Not to grow mawkish 
while we must be kind, let us not forget that this woman is an old plotter. 
If she did not devise the assassination, she was privy to it long. She was 
an agent of contraband mails — a bold, crafty, assured rebel — perhaps a spy 
— and in the event of her condemnation, let those who would plead for her 
spend half their pity upon that victim whose heart was like a woman's, 
and whose hand was merciful as a mother's. 

Before the door sits an officer, uncovered, who does not seem to labor 
under any particular fear, chiefly because the captives are ironed to immova 
bility, and he stares and smiles alternately, as if he were somewhat amiable 
and extremely bored. 

Next to the officer is a shabby-looking boy, whose seat is by the right 
jamb of the jail door. Of all boys just old enough to feel their oats, this 
boy is the most commonplace His parents would be likely lo have no 
sanguine hopes of his reaching the presidency; for his head indicates latent 
dementia, and a slice ,or two from it would recommend him, without ex 
amination, to the school for the feeble-minded. Better dressed, and washed, 
and shaved, he might make a tolerable adornment to a hotel door, or even 
reach the dignity of a bar-keeper or an usher at a theatre. But that this 
fellow should occupy a leaf in history and be confounded with a tragedy 
entering into the literature of the world, reverses manifest destiny, and 
leaves neither phrenology nor physiognomy a place to stand upon. 

Come up ! Gall, Spurzheim, and Lavater, and remark his sallow face, 
attenuated by base excesses ! Do you know any forehead so broad which 
means so little ? the oyster could teach this man philosophy ! His chin is 
sharp, his eyes are blank blue, his short black hair curls over his ears, and 
his beard is of a prickly black, with a moustache which does not help his 
general contemptibleness. A dirty grayish shirt without a linen coUa'', is 
seen between the lapels of the greasy and dusty cloth coat, sloping at the 
shoulders ; and under his worn brown trowsers, the manacle of iron makes 
an ugly garter to his carpet slipper. 

This is David Harold, who shared the wild night-ride of Booth, and 
barely escaped that outlaw's death in the burning barn. 

He stoops to the rail of the dock, now and then, to chat with his attorney, 
an5 a sort of blank anxiety which he wears, as his head turns here and 
there, sliifts to a frolicking smile. But a woman of unusual attractions 
enters the court, and Harold is much more interested in her than in his 

The Trial. 66 

Great Caesar's dust, which stopped a knot-hole, has in this play boy an 
inverse parallel. He was at best hostler to a murderer, and tailed in that. 
His chief concern at present is to have somebody to talk to; and he thinks, 
upon the whole, that if an assassination is productive of so little fun, he will 
have nothing to do with another one. 

That Harold has slipped into history gives us as much surprise as that 
he has yet to sutler death gives us almost contempt for the scaffold. But 
if the scaffold must wait for only wise men to get upon it, it must rot. 
Your wise man does no murder in the first place, and if so, in the second, 
he dodges the penalty. In this 'v^rld, Harold, idiotcy is oftener punished 
than guilt. 

That Booth should have used Harold is very naturally accounted for. 
Actors live only to be admired ; vanity rises to its climax in them. Booth 
preferred this sparrow to sing him peans rather than live by an eagle and 
be screamed at now and then. 

At the right hand side of Harold sits a soldier in blue, who is evidently 
thinking about a game of quoits with his comrades in the jail yard ; he won- 
ders why lawyers are so very dry, and is surprised to find a trial for mur- 
der as tedious as a thanksgiving sermon. 

But on the soldier's other hand is a figure which makes the center and 
cynosure of this thrilling scene. Taller by a whole head than either his 
companions or the sentries, Payne, the assassin, sits erect, and flings his 
barbarian eye to and fro, radiating the tremendous energy of his colossal 

He is the only man worthy to have murdered Mr. Seward. When 
against the delicate organization, the fine, subtle, nervous mind of the Sec- 
retary of State, this giant, knife in hand, precipitated himself, two forms of 
civilization met as distinctly as when the savage Gauls invaded the Roman 

Lawlessness and intelligence, the saVage and the statesman, body and 
mind, fought together upon. Mr. Seward's bed. 

The mystery attending Payne's home and parentage still exists to make 
him more incomprehensible. Out of the vague, dim ultima thule, 
like those Asiatic hordes which came from nowhere and shivered civilization, 
Payne suddenly appeared and fought his way to the sanctum sanctorum of 
law. I think his part in the assassination more remarkable than Booth's. 
The latter's crime was shrewdly plotted, as by one measuring intelligence 
with the whole government. But Payne did not think — he only 
struck ! 

With this man's face before me as I write, lam reminded of some Maori 
chief waging war from the lust of blood or the pride of local dominion. 
His complexion is bloodless, yet so healthy that a passing observer would 
afterward speak of it as ruddy. His face is broad, with a character nose, 
sensual lips, and very high cheek bones ; the cranium is full and the brow 
speaking, while the head runs back to an abnormal apex at the tip of the 
cerebellum. His straight, lusterless black hair, duly parted, is at the sum- 
mit so disturbed that tufts of it rise up like Red Jacket's or Tecumseh's ; 
but the head is kept well up, and rests upon a wonderfully broad throst, 
muscular as one's thigh, and without any trace, as he sits, of the protuber- 
ance called Adam's apple. Withal, the eye is thd man Payne's, power. It 
is dark and speechless^ and rolls here and there like that of a beast in a cage 
which strives in vain to understand the language of its captors. . It seems 
to say, if anything, that it has no sympathy with anybody approximate, 
and has submitted, like a lion bound, to the logic of conviction and of cU'tins. 



66 The Life, Crime, and Capture of John Wilkes Booth. 

Payne looks at none of his fellow-prisoners : assassins caujjht seldom cares 
to recognise each other ; for while there is faithfulness among thieves, there 
is none among murderers. His great white eyeball never roves to any- 
body's in the dock, nor theirs to his. He has confessed his crime and they 
know it; so they have no mutual hope ; thoy listen tu the evidence because 
it concerns them ; he looks at it only, because it cannot save him. He is 
entirely beardless, yet in his boyish chin more of a man physically than 
the rest, combined. 

While I watch this man I am constantly repeating to myself that stanza 
of Bryant's : 

" Upon the market place he stood, — 

A man of giant frame, 
Amid the gatherine; multitude 

That shrunk to hear his name ; 
All proud of step and firm of limb. 

His dark eye on the ground — 
And silently they gazed on him, 

As on a lion bound." 

His dress, which we scarcely notice in the grander contrast of his pose 
and stature, is an old shirt of woolen blue, with a white nap at the button- 
holes, and upon his knees of black cloth he twirls, as if for relaxation, be- 
bWeen his powerful manacles, a soiled white handkerchief — if from his 
mother, we conjecture, a gift to a bloodhound from his dam. His heavy 
handcuffs make his broad shoulders more narrow. Yet we can see by the 
outline of the sleeves what girth the muscles has, and the hand at the end 
of his long and bony arm is wide and huge, as if it could wield a clay- 
more as well as a dirk. He also wears carpet slippers, but his ankles are 
clogged with so heavy irons that two men must carry them when he enters 
or leaves the dock. For this man there can be no sentiment — no more 
than for a bull. The flesh on his face is hard, as if cast, rather than gener- 
ated, and while we see how he towers above the entire court, we watch 
him in wonder, as if he were some maniac denizen of a zone where men 
without minds grow to the stature and power of fiends. 

The face of Payne is not of the traditional southern peculiarities. He 
resembles rather a Pennsylvania mountaineer than a Kentucky rustic. 

Three weeks ago 1 gave, in an account of the conspiracy which many 
gainsayed, but which the trial has fully confirmed, a sketch of this man, to 
which 1 still adhere. He was furnished to Booth and John Surratt from 
Canada; sent upon special service with his life in his hands ; and he faced 
the murder he was to commit like any prize-fighter. I pity Beall, who died 
intelligently for a wretched essay against civilians, that his biography and 
fate must be matched by this savage's ! 

Next to Payne, and crouching under him like a frog under a rock, is an 
inconsiderable soldier, who chews his cud, and would cheerfully hang his 
protege for the sake of being rid of him. My sympathies are entirely en- 
listed for this soldier ; he has neither the joy of being acquitted, nor the 
excitement of being tried. He is quite a sizable man by himself, but 
Payne overhangs him, and the dullness of the trial quite stultifies him. 
The few points of law which are admitted here are not so evident to this 
soldier as the point of his bayonet. I see what ails him. 

He wants to swear. 

A beam running overhead divides the court lengthwise in half, and as tht 
prisoners sit at the end of the court, the German Atzerolt, or Adzeroth, 
has a place just beneath the beam. This is very ominous for Atzerott. 

The Trial. 67 

The filthiness of this man denies him sympathy. He is a disnjusting little 
groveler, of dry, sandy hair, oval head, ears set so dose to the chin that 
one would think his sense of hearing limited to his jaws, and a complexion 
so yellow that the uncropped brownness of his beard does not materially 
darken it. He wears a grayish coat, low grimy shirt, and the usual carpet 
slippers of threadbare red over his shifting and shiftless feet. His bond ia 
bent forward, and seems to be anxiously trying to catch the tenor of the 
trial. Many persons outside of the court, Atzerott, are equally puzzled ! 

From as much examination of this man as his insignificance permits, I 
should call him a " gabby" fellow — loud of resolution, ignoble of effort. 
Over his lager no man would be braver. His face is familiar to me from 
a review of those detective cabinets usually called " Rogues' Galleries." As 
a "sneak thief" or "bagman," I should convict him by his face; the same 
indictment would make me acquit him instantly of assassination. In this 
estimate I rely upon evidence as well as upon appearance. Atzerott 
swaggered about Kirkwood's Hotel asking for the Vice-President's room ; 
Payne or Booth would have done the murder silently. Nobody pities a 
dirty man. The same arts of dress and cleanliness which please ladies 
influence juries. 

Next to Atzerott sits a soldier — a very jolly and smooth faced soldier — 
who at one time hears a witness say something laughable. The soldier 
immediately grins to the farthest point of his scalp. But he is chagrined 
to find that the joke is too trivial to admit of a laugh of duration. Very 
few jokes before the present court do so. But this soldier being of long 
charity and excellent patience, awaits the next joke like a veteran under 
orders, and reposes his chin upon the dock as if aware that between jokes 
there was ample time for a nap. 

The next prisoner to the right is O'Laughlin. He is a small man, about 
twenty-eight years of age, attired in a fine, soiled coat, but without white 
linen upon either his bosom or neck, and handcufl^s rest hugely upon his 
mediocrity. His moustache, eye-brows, and hair are regular and very 
black. He does not look unlike Booth, though he seems to have little 
bodily power, and he is very anxious, as if more earnest than any of the 
rest, to have a fair lease upon life. His countenance is not prppossessing, 
though he might be considered passably good looking in a mixed company. 

Between O'Laughlin and the next prisoner, Spangler, sits a soldier in 
ultramarine — a discontented soldier, a moody, dissatisfied, and arbitrary 
soldier. His definition of military justice is like the boy's answer at school 
to the familiar question upon the Constitution of the United States : 

" What rights do accused persons enjoy ?" 

The boy wrote out, very carefully, this answer : 

" Death by hanging." 

The boy would have been correct had the question applied to accused 
persons before a court-martial. ^ 

Spangler, the scene-shifter and stage-carpenter, has the face and bearing 
of a day-laborer. His blue woollen shirt does not confuse him, as he is ( 

used to it. He has an oldish face, wrinkled by fearful anticipations, and 
his hair is thin. He is awkwardly built, and watches the trial earnestly, as 
if striving to catch between the links of evidence vistas of a life insured. 
This man has a simple and pleading face, and there is something genial in 
his great, incoherent countenance. He is said to have cleared the stage for 
Booth's escape, but this is indifferently testified to. He had often been 
asked bv Booth to take a drink at the nearest bar. Persons who drink 

68 The Life, Crime, and Capture of John Wilkes Booth. 

assure me that the greatest mark of confidence which a great man can show 
a lesser one is to make that tender ; this, therefore, explains Booth's power 
over Spangler. 

Spangler is the first scene-shifter who may become a dramatis personae, 

A soldier sits between Spangler and Doctor Mudd. The soldier would 
like Spangler to get up and go away, so that he could have as much of the 
bench as he might sleep upon. This particular soldier, I may be qualified 
to say, would sleep upon his post. 

Doctor Mudd has a New England and not a Maryland face. He com- 
pares, to those on his left, as Hyperion to a squatter, llis high, oval head 
is bald very far up, but not benevolently so, and it is covered with light 
red hair, so thin as to contrast indifl'erently with the denseness of his beard 
and goatee. His nose would be insignificant but for its sharpness, and at 
the nostrils it is swelling and high-spirited. His eyes impinge upon his 
brows, and they are shining and rather dark, while the brows themselves 
are so scantily • clothed with hair that they seem quite naked. Mudd is 
neatly dressed in a green-grass duster, and white bosom and collar ; if he 
had no other advantages over his associates these last would give it to him. 
He keeps his feet upon the rail before him in true republican style, and 
rolls a morsel of tobacco under his tongue. 

The military commission works as if it were delegated not to try, but 
to convict, and Dr. Mudd, if he be innocent, is in only less danger than if 
he were guilty. He has a sort of home-bred intelligence in his face, and 
socially is as far above his fellows as Goliah of Gath above the rest of the 

On the right of Doctor Mudd sits a soldier, who is striving to looK 
through his leg's at the iudse-advocate, as if taking a sort of secret aim at 
that person, with the intent to fetch him down, because he makes the trial 
so very dry, and the soldier so very thirsty. 

The last man, who sits on the extreme right of the prisoners, is Mr. 
Sam. Arnold. He is, perhaps, the best looking of the prisoners, and the 
least implicated. He has a solid, pleasant face ; has been a rebel soldier, 
foolishly committed himself to Booth, with perhaps no intention to do a 
crime, recanted in pen and ink, and was made a national character. Had 
he recanted by word of mouth he might have saved himself unpleasant 
dreams. This shows everybody the absurdity of writing what they can so 
easily say. The best thing Arnold ever wrote was his letter to Booth refu- 
sing to engage in murder. Yet this recantation is more la evidence against 
him than his original purpose. 

Arnold looks out of the window, and feels easy. 

The reporters who are present are generally young fellows, practical and 
ardent, like Woods, of Boston ; Colburn, of The World; and Major 
Poore, who has been the chronicler of such scenes for twenty years. Ber. 
Pitman, one of the authors of phonetic writing, is among the official re- 
porters, and the ^furphies, who could report the lightning, if it could talk, 
are slashing down history as it passes in at their ears and runs out at their 
fingers' ends. 

The counsel for the accused strike me as being commonplace lawyers. 
They either have no chance or no pluck to assert the dignity of their pro- 
fession. Reverdy Johnson is not here. The first day disgusted him, as 
he is a practitioner of laio. Yet the best word of the trial has been his . 

" I, gentlemen, am a member of that body of legislators which creates 
courts-martial and major-generals !" 

The Trial. 69 

The commission has collectively an imposing appearance : the face of 
Judge Holt is swarthy ; he questions with slow utterance, holding the 
witness in his cold, measuring eye. Hunter, who sits at the opposite end 
of the table, shuts his eyes now and then, either to sleep or think, or both, 
and the other generals take a note or two, and watch for occasions to dis- 
tinguish themselves. 

Excepting Judge Holt, the court has shown as little ability as could be 
expected from soldiers, placed in unenviable publicity, and upon a duty 
for which they are disqualified, both by education and acumen. Witness 
the lack of dignity in Hunter, who opened the court by a coarse allusion 
to " humbug chivalry;" of Lew. Wallace, whose heat and intolerance were 
appropriately urged in the most exceptional English ; of Howe, whose 
tirade against the rebel General Johnson was feeble as it was ungenerous ! 
This court was needed to show us at least the petty tyranny of martial 
law and the pettiness of martial jurists. The counsel for the defense have 
iust enough show to make the unfairness of the trial partake of hypocrisy, 
iind the wideness of the subjects discussed makes one imagine that the 
object of the commission is to write a cyclopedia, and not to hang or ac- 
(j^uit six or eight miserable wretches. 



The peaceful valleys reaching wide, 

The wild war stilled on everj hand ; 
On Pisgah's top our Prophet died, 

In si^ht of Promised Land. 

A cheerful heart he bore alway, 

Though tragio years clashed on the while ; 

Death sat behind him at the play — 
His last look was a smile. 

His single arm crushed wrong and thrall — 
That grand good will we only dreamed. 

Two races weep around his pall. 
One saved and one redeemed. 

No battle pike his march imbrued ; 

Unarmed he went 'midst martial mails. 
The footsore felt their strength renewed 

To hear his homely tales. 

The trampled flag he raised again, 

And healed our eagle's broken wing ; 
The night that scattered armed men 

Saw scorpions rise tp sting. 

Down fell the brand in treason's hand 

Its gashes as he strove to staunch. 
And o'er the waste of ruined land 

To take the Olive Branch. 

The holy crest by murder stained, 

Upon its shattered portal lie ; 
The text this bravo's lips profaned 

Be sanctified for aye ! 

In still green field or belfried kirk, 

Where'er high boughs his sleep may lull, 

Here closed his life, where closed his work. 
Beside the Capitol. 

Be his no tomb perturbed and pent, 

With words too weak for grief begilt, — 

Heap up his grander monument : 
The Union he rebuilt ! 

Gbo. Alfred TowirsBin). 



The American Boy's Own Book of Sports and G-ames. 

do7,^ Th?/wnr^f'l^'''''^r,?n^'""''*''V'''Mr*,'^"T'''\^ ^^^ seasons, both in and out 

doors. This work contains 6o0 pages, and is illustrated with over tOO engrarinps and diacrams drawn bv 
White and other American and English artists, and engraved by N. Orr, in his be?t Xle Yt i^also embelK 
inted mne';^ T/:^''j^^f ;?'°"'^''''f^ *'""'" illustrating the d tferent departments of th^o work and printed on 
kithebeT«fVl5 P^'^l'sl'ers were three years preparing this work and assure the public that it is printed 

Sint a., ^'h 7?1 " "'''n ^^^"^ ""^^ '" °<r"! "^""^ """"^ acceptable books that could be presented to a boy 
01 any age. 1 he following will give an idea of its Contents. » "wjr 

Part IV— Play Room Games, Por Rainy 
Days. Including Round Uames and Forfeits, 
Board and Slate Games, and Table and Toy 

Part V— Evening- Amusements. Compre- 
hending Comio Diversions, Parlor Magic, Scien- 
tific Recreations, and Puzzle«. 

Part VI— Mechanical and Miscellaneoua 
Amusements. Including Carpentry, Paint- 
ing, UarUemng and Postage-stamps. 

Part I— The Play-Ground : or, Otif-Door Games 
Wilh and Witliaut Toys. Including Games of 
Activity and Speed : Games with Toys ; Marbles, 
Tops, Hoops Kites, Archery, Balls; with Cricket, 
Croquet, and Base-Ball. 

Part H— Athletic and Graceful Recreation. 

Including Gymnastics, Skating, Swimming, 
Kowing, Sailing, Horsemanship, Riding, Driv- 
ing, Angling, Fencing, and Broadsword. 

Part m— Amusements with Pets. Compris- 
ing Singing and Talking Birds, Pigeons.Domestic 
and Aquatic Fowls, Rabbits, Squirrels, Mice 
Guinea-Pigs, Raccoon and Opossum, Dogs, Salt 
and Fresh Water Aquaria. 

Large 12mo, 600 pages, printed on the finest paper ; bound in cloth, with gilt side and back, illustrated with 
over 600 engravings. Price $3 50 

Trump's" American Hoyle; or. Gentlemen's Handbook of 

Games. Containing clear and complete descriptions of all the games played in the United States, 
with the American Rules for playing them, including Whist, Euchre, Besique, Cribbage, All-Fours, 
Loo, Poker, Brag, Piquet, Ecarte, Boston, Cassino, Chess, Checkers, Backgammon, Dominoet^, Billiards, and 
ft hundred other games. This work is designed to be an American authority for all the various games of skill 
Bnd chance. It has been prepared with great care by the editor, with the assistance of a number of gentleman 
players of skill and ability, and is not a re-hash of English descriptions of obsolete games, but a live Ameri- 
can book, expressly prepared for American readers. 12mo, cloth ; nearly 600 pages, vidth illustrations. 
Price ga 00 

The Secret Out; or, One Thousand Tricks with Cards. A bool( 

which explains all the Tricks and Deceptions with Playing Cards ever known or invented. This book con- 
tains, in addition to its numerous Card Tricks above described, full and easily understood explanations o4 
some two hunderd and forty of the most curious, amusing and interesting sleight-of-hand tricks ever in-* 
Tented, and which are illustrated by Engravings to make each Trick understood with ease. Illustrated by 
about 300 Engravings, and bound in a handsome gilt bindin;^. It contains about four hundred pages. 
Price $1 50 

Tlie Sociable * or, One Thousand and One Home Amusements. CoH' 

tainining Acting Proverbs, Dramatic Charades, Acting Charades, ov Drawing-room Pantomimes, Musical 
Burlesques, Table.aux Vivants, Parlor Games, Games of Action, Forfeits, Science in Sport and P.irlor Magic, 
and a choice collection of curious mental and mechanical puzzles, <feo. Illustrated with nearly 300 Engravings 
and Diagrams, the whole being a fund of never-ending entertainment. By the author ot " The ^dagician's 
Own Book." Nearly 400 pages,12mo, cloth, gilt side stamp. Price $1 50 

The Magician's Own Book. Containing several hundred amusing 

Magnetical, Electrical and Chemical Experiments, Sleight-of-hand and Card Tricks, Perplexing Purzles, 
Entertaining Tricks and Questions in Numl)er3, Secret Writing, Explained. Illustrated with over 500 Wood 
Engravings, 12mo, cloth, gilt side and back stamp, 400 pages. Price - SI 50 

The Parlor Mao'ician; or, One Hundred Tricks for the Drawing 

Room. Containing an extensive and Miscellaneous Collection of Conjuring and Legerdemain ; Sleights with 
Dice, Dominoes, Cards, Ribbons, Rings, Fruit, Coin, Balls, Handkerchiefs, .k,c., all of which may De Performed 
in the Parlor or Drawing- Room, without the aid of any apparatus; also embracing a choice variety of Curious 
Deceptions which may be performed with the aid of simple apparatus ; the whole Ulustrated and clearly ex- 
plained, with 121 engravings. Paper covers, price .- 30 

Bound in boards, with cloth back 5 J 

Art of Dancing Without a Master ; or Bail iioojn Guide 

and Instructor. To which is added Hints on Etiquette ; also, the Figures, Music, and J^c^essary Instructions 
for the Performance of the most Modern and Improved Dances. By Edward Ferbero, Professor of Dancing 
at West Point. By the aid of which any one can attain a knowledge of the Art of Dancmg without a Master. 
This work also contains 105 pages of the Choicest Music, arranged for the piano-forte by the most celebrated 
professors. Thus you can obtain a History of Dancing, Hints on Etiquette, the Figured and Steps of all 
Dances, and Ton DoUaru worth i»;th3 choicest Music, for one dollar and a half. Price Si 50 



The Illustrated Hand-Book of Billiards. By Michael 

Phelan and Claulma Bergur. Containing a complete treatise of the noble Game of Billiards, with a descrip- 
tion of all the dilfeient shots, how to bring: the balls together, 4c. ; to which is added the Rules of the 
American or Four-Ball Game, th'' English Game, and the French or Three-Ball Game. Also containing the 
Rules for all the different Games of I'ool. Illustrated copiously with engravings. Prico 60 

The Game of Draughts or Checkers Simplified a,ii.d 

EXPLAINED. With Practical Uiatjrams and Illustrations, together with a Checkcr-boar'l, numbered and 
printed in red. Containing the Eighteen Standard Games, with over 200 of the best variations, selected from 
the various authors, together with many original ones never before published. By D. Scattekgooo. Bound 
in cloth, with tlexible cover. Price 50 

The Book of 1,000 Tales and Am.using Adventures. 

Containing over 30O Engravings ami 450 pages. This book is crammed full of the narratives and adventures 
of Travelers, the romantic tales of the Celebrated Warriors, Amusing Stories in Katur-il History, besides a 
thousand things relating to curious tricks, entertaining sports, pastimes and games. In this capital work we 
have our old friend, I'cter Parley, again, and he tells his stories as well as ever. Price $1 50 

The Book of 500 Curious Puzzles. Containing a large 

collection of entertaining Paradoxes, Perplexing Deceptions in Numbers, and Amusin"!: Tricks in Geometry. 
By the author of "The Sociable," "The Secret Out," "The Magician's Own Buoh." Illustrated with a 
Great Variety of Engravings, This book will have a large sale. It will furnish fun and amusement for a 

whole winter. Paper covers. Price 30 

Bound in boards, vnth cloth back 50 

Book of Riddles and Five Hundred Home Amuse- 

MENTS. Containing a Choice and Curious Collection of Riddles, Charades Enicrnas, Rebuses, Anagrams, 
Transpositions, Conundrums, Amusing Puzzles, Queer Sleights, Recreations in Arithmetic, Fireside Games, 
and Natural Magic, embracing Entertaining Amusements in Magnetism, Chemistrj', Second Sight, and Simple 
Becreatjong in Science for Family and Social pastime, illustrated with sixty engrarings. Paper covers. 

Price 30 

Bound in. boards, with cloth b-ck 50 

Parlor Tricks with Cards. Containing Explanations of all thp 

Tricks and Deceptions with Playing Cards ever invented, embr;icing Trick< vrt'n C.\.\l-i i»crformed by Sleight- 
of Hand ; by the Aid of Memory, Mental Calculation, and Arran.;emcnt ci' lb,- C^r.ts ; ) y the aid of Confede- 
racy, and Tricks Performed by the aid of Prepared Cards. The whole lUuiir-iird fand made plain and easy, 

with seventy engravings. Paper covers, price - 30 

Bound in boards, with cloth back 50 

The Book of Fireside G-ameS. Containing aa Explanation of 

the most entertaining Games suited to the Family Circle as a Recreation, such as Games of Action, Games 
■which merely require attention, Games which require memory. Catch Games, which have for their objects 
Tricks or Mystifi',:ation, Games in which an opportunity is afforded to display OalLmtry, Wit, or some slight 
knowledge of certain Sciences, Amusing Forfeits, Fireside Games for Winter Evening Amusement, 6cc. Paper 

covers, price 3() 

Bound in boards, with cloth back 30 

Parlor Theatricals ; ^^' Winter Evmings' Entertainment. Con- 
taining Acting Proverbs, Dramatic Charades, Acting Charade.^, or Prawing-room Pantomimes, Musical Bur- 
lesques, Tableaux Vivants, <Vc.; with Instructions for Amateurs; how to construct a Stage and Curtain ; how 
to get up Costumes and Properties, on the "Making Up" of Characters, Exits and Entrances ; how to arrange 

Tableaux, &c. Illustrated with engravings. Paper covers, price 30 

Bound in boards, cloth back ^. . 50 

Hillgrove's Ball Room G-uide, and Complete Dancing 

MASTER. Containing a Plain Trentise on Etiquette and Deportment at Balls and Parties, with Valuable 
llmts on Dross and the Toilet, together with full explanations of the Rudiments, Terms, I'igures and Steps 
used in Dancing, including clear and preci-so Instructions how to Dance all kin^l.^ of Quadrilles, WaltKcs, 
Polkas, Redowas, Reels, Round, I'laia .ind Fam j^ Dances, so that any person may learn them without 
tlie aid of a Teacher ; to which is added Easy Dire<;tions for Calling out the Figures of Every Dance, and the 
amount of Music required for each. The whole illustrated with one hundred and seventy-six descriptive 
Engravings and Diagrams, by Thomas Hillgbove, Professor of Dancing. Bound in cloth, with gilt side and 

b.ick, price 75 

B*»un<i in boards, with cloth back $ 1 00 

100 Tricks "with Cards. J- H. Green, tlie Reformed Gambler, 

has just authorised the publication of a new edition of his book entitled " Gamblrr)^' Tricks with Cards Ex- 
posed and Explciined." This is a book of 96 pages, and exposes and explain.T ail t he myst«tioH of the Gambling 
Table. It is in; i-esting not only to those who play, but to those who do not. Old Players will fct aoaie ney 
idaa* from this curious book. Price . 30 


"Trump's" American Hoyle; or. Gentlemen's Handhook of Ga7ne». 

Gonttiiuing clear and complete descriptions of all the Games playi^d iu the United States, 
•with the American Kules for playing them, including, Whist, Euchre, Bezique, Crib- 
bage, All-Fours, Loo, Poker, Brag, Piquet, Ecarte, Boston, Cassino, Chess, Checkers, 
Backgammon, Dominoes, BUliardk, and a hundred other games. To which is appended 
an Elaborate Treatise on the Doctrine of Chances. 

Reasons why " Tlie American Hoyle" mast be tUo Standard Antbiority for 
All Ganics played in tUe United States : Bccanse 

It is an American Book, prepared with great care, 
with the aid an'd Cuunsel of a large number of the 
best players (both amateur and professional) id this 

The Kules, descriptions, definitions and technical- 
ities are all simplitted and adapted to the several 
games as they are actually pl;iyed here. 

Many of our games are peculiarly American, and 
cannot be intelligibly described except by an Amer- 
ican who understands them, while those of foreign 
origin have become so changed ly American modi- 
fications, as to make the European rules and descrip- 
tions as likely to mislead as to instruct. 

In preparing this work the best or greatest weight 
of authority for each particular game has been taken 
upon disputed points. 

All the pames played in the ITnited States, whether 
ct home or foreign origin, are given as they are 
played by Americans at tlie pi eseiit day. 

No complete woik on the popular games of this 
•ountry, exhibiting them as they are actually played 
here, has ever been published, until "The American 
Hoyle" appeared. 

The important games of Chess, Draughts and Back- 
gammon are illustrated with over 130 diagrams of 
games, problems and criticiil positions, all of which 
have been carefully played upon the board since the 
work was stereotyped, and nearly 100 errors (which 
appear in English game books and their American 
reprints) have been coirected. 

The game of Kussian Bac kgammon, one of the 
most pleasing fireside games, and which has been 

much sought after, has never been published in any 
book of games, until the editor of "The American 
Hoyle" gave it to the public in tliat work. 

Faro as it is presented in foreign game books, 
and as it really is in the United States, as pre»ented 
in "The American Hoyle," are two entirely distinct 
things, and no one can understand it or play it safely 
unless he has the American authority to refer to. 

Euchre and Bezique are both popular gamss, 
and both occupy the extended space which their 
importance deserves — this is deemed essential to 
the settlement of the many disputed points that 
have from time to time arisen in relation to both 

The important game of Boston, as played in the 
United States, is now given for the first time in any 
book of games. 

The many disputed points in the games of All- 
Fours, Poker, Pitch, Loo, and Vingt-Un, are all 
enlarged upon, and careful and accurate deci«ioni 
are given. 

The treatise on Billiards and Pool is by Minhael 
Phelan, who is too well known to need further 
mention here. 

If you study the "Doctrine of Chances," as pre- 
sented in " The American Hoyle," you will be much 
less likely to come out second best in a game than 
if you " go ilk blind." 

"Be sure you're right, then go ahead," was Col. 
Crockett's advice. How can you be sure you're rigiit 
and go ahead safely, unless you have "Tlie American 
Hoyle" to settle doubtful points for you X 

As a live American book, prepared with great care, and adapted especially to their wants, 
it commends itself to the American people, and must speedily become the standard authority 
npon all matters of which it treats. 

The Amebicaii Hoi-u; contains over 500 pages, is printed on fine white jaaper, bound in 
cloth, with extra gilt side and back, and is proftisely illustrated with engravings explaining 
atud different games. Price $2 00 ; sent free of postage. 

Frank Converse's Complete Banjo Instructor, without 

a Master. Containing a choice collection of Banjo Solos, Hornpipes, Reels, Jigs, Walt- 
Arounds, Songs and Banjo Stories, progressively arranged and plainly explained, 
enabling the learner to become a proficient Banjoist without the aid of a teacher. 

The necessary explanations accompany each tune, and are placed under the notes on eaoli 
page, plainly shoviriiig the string required, the finger to be used for stopping it, the manner 
of striking, and the number of times it must be sounded. This is all arranged and explained 
in BO olear a manner, and the method is so simple and easy to learn, that it may be readily 
comprehended at a ghmce by any person, even of very limited understanding. By this sim- 
ple method a person may ma.ster a tune in an hour or so. Mr. Converf53 is an eminent pro- 
fessor of the Banjo and a thorough musician, and his plan of instruction is entirely new and 
perfectly easj'. This book is no catchpenny affair, but is just what wa say it is. The In- 
STBUCTOB is illuistratrd with dis^ams and explanatory sjonbols. The following list of tunoei 
will give an idea of its contents. 

Arkansas Traveller, (with story,) 

Boatman's Dance, 

Bee Gum Reel, 

Bully for You, 

Koston Jig, 

Butler's Jig, 

Brighton Jig, 

Calabash Dance, 

Cotten Pod AValk- Around. 

Callowhill Jijr, 

Coon Hunt Walk-Around, 

Cano Brake lle«l. 

Essence of Old Virginny, 


Hyde's Favorite, 


liuke West's Walk- Around, 

Lanagan's Ball, 

>lr. Brown, 

Mat Peel's Walk-Around, 

My Love is but a Lx^e, 

Oh Susanna, 
O'Flaherty's Wake, 
Operatic Jig, 
Ilumsey's Jig, 
The Charcoal Man. 
Union Coikade, 
Walk into de Parlor, 
Whole Hog or None, 
Yankee ]>oodle. 

100 pages, boitnd in boards, cloth hack. Pries 50 ce?i/s ; sent free of postage on receipt of price. 
Send eash orders to DICK <C FITZGERALD, Publishers, Nttv York, 


Le Marcliand's Fortune-Teller and's Die- 

IlONARY. Contiiininga complete Dictionary of Dreams alphabetically arranged, witha clear Interpretation 
of each Dream, and the Lucky Numbers that belong to them. AIbo showing how to Tell fortunes by the 
Won.lerful and Mysterious Lady's Love Oracle ; How to Foretell the Sex and Number of Cliihlrcn ; IIow to 
Wake u Lover or Sweetheart come to You ; To tell whether your Lover or Sweetheart Loves You ; How to tell 
any Person's Age; To know who j-our future Husband will be, and how soon you will beMirried; To ascer- 
tain whether your Husband or Wife is True to You ; How to Tell Future Kvents with Cards, Dice, Tea and 
CotTee Grounds, Eggs, Apple Parings, and the Lines of the Hand; How to Tell a Person's Character by 
Cabalistic Calculations, &c. By Madame Le Mauchand, the celebrated Parisian Fortunc-Teller. Illus- 
trated with a Steel Frontispiece and numerous Wood Engi-ayings. This book contains H4 pages, and is 
bound in pasteboard, with cloth back. Price 40 

Pettengill's Perfect Fortnne-Teller and Dream-Book : 

or, The Art of Discerning Future. Events. This is a most complete Fortune-Tellcr and Dream-Book, and is 
one of the best ever printed. It is compiled with great care from authentic authorities on Astrology, Geo- 
mancy. Chiromancy, Necromancy, Spiritual Philosojjhy, &c., &c. A mong the subjects treated of are— Casting 
Nativities by the Stars ; Telling Fortunes by Lines on the Hiind, by Moles on the Boily, by Turning Cards, by 
Questions of Destiny, by Physical Appearances, by the Day of Birth, &c. ; Signs of Character from tha 
Shape of the Finger Nails, the Nose, the Eyes, the Marks on the Body, the Shape of the Head ; and also 
Signs to Choose Husbands and Wives, &c. Indeed, it is tiie most complete and curious Book of Destiny eyet 
printed. Everything you can think of as to fate or fortune is here explained. A baok of 144 pages, bound 
m boards, with cloth back. Pr"!te 40 

The Everlasting Fortune-Teller and Magnetic Dream * 

BOOK. Containing the Science of Foretelling Events by the Signs of the Zodiac ; Lists of Lucky and Un- 
lucky Days, with Presages drawn therefrom ; List of Fortunate Hours ; Physioguumy, or Prognostics drawn 
from the color and nature of the Hair of Men and Women, also from their whole assemblage of features ; tha 
Science of Foretelling Events by Cards, Dice, Dominoes, &c., the Siience Foretelling anything in the Futur9 
by Dreams ; and also containing Napoleon's Ouacvlum, or the Book of Fate, found in the Cabinet of Nape 
leoa Buonaparte. Price only 35 

The Lady's Love Oracle: or, Counselor to the Fair Sex. Being 

a complete Fortune-Teller and Interpreter to all questions upon the different events and situations of life, 
but more especially relating to all circumstances connected with Love, Courtship and Marriage. By Madame 
Lk Maechand. Illustrated cover, printed in colors. Price 30 


The Perfect Gentleman. A book of Etiquette and Eloquence, 

containing Information and Instruction for those *ho desire to become brilliant or conspicuous in General 
Society, or at Parties, Dinners, or Popular Gatherings, &c. It gives directions how to use wine at table, with 
Rules for judging the quality thereof, Kulcs for Carving, and a complete Etiquette of the D.nuer Table, in- 
cluding Dinner Speeches, Toasts and Sentiments, Wit and Conversation at Table, A:c. It has also an American 
Code of Etiquette and Politeness for all occasions; Model Speeches, with Directions how to deliver them; 
Duties of the Chairman at Public Meetings, Forms of Preambles and Kesolutions, &c. It is a handsomely 
bound and gilt volume of 335 pages. Price— — — $1 50 

ChesterfiekVs Letter- Writer and Complete Book of 

ETIQUETTE; or. Concise, Si/stemalic Directions for Arranging and Writing Lrtters. Also, Model Corres- 
pondence in Friendship and Business, and a great variety of Model Love Letters. This work is also a Com- 
plete Book of Etiquette. You will find more real information in this boov than in h;ilf-a-dozen volumes 
of the more expensive ones. This book contains 136 pages, and is bound in pasteboard sides, with cloth back. 
Price 40 

Etiquette and the Usages of Society. Containing the most 

approved Hules for Correct Conduct in Social and Fashionable Life ; with Hints to both Gentlemen and 
Ladies on Awkward and Vulgar Habits. Also, the Etiquette of Love and Courtship, Mai-riage Etiquette, &c. 

By H. P. Willis. A book of C4 pages. Price _ . 15 

Bound in cloth, with gilt side and printed on fine paper suitable for a present to a lady 50 

Arts of Beauty, or, Secrets of a Lady's Toilet. With Hints to 

Gentlemen on the Art of Fascinating. By Mad.ame Lola MoKTr?:. Countess of Landsfeldt. Cloth, gilt side. 
This book contains an account, in detail, of all the arts employed by the fashionttble ladies of all the chief 
cities of Europe, for the purpose of developing and preserving thuir charms. Price 75 

The Ladies' G-uide to Beauty. A Companion for the Toilet. 

Containing practical advice on improving the complexion, the hair, the hands, the form, (he teeth, the eyes, 
the feet, the features, so as to insure tie highest degree of peafection of which they are Busceptible. And 
also upwards of otie hundred rneipes for various cosmetii^, oils, pomades, &c., &c., being tho result of a com- 
bination of practical and scientific skill.. By Sir Jame^ Clark, Private Physician to Queen Victoria. Re- 
vised ftnd edited by an American Physician and Chemist. Paper, price 85 


Tlie Laws of Love. ^ Complete Code of Gallantry. Containing 

concise rules for the conduct of Courtship through its entire progress, aphorisms of love, rules for telling the 

characters and dispositions of women, remedies for love, and an epistolary code. 

Price - 35 

Tlie Art of Conversation : TF^Y/i Remarks on Fashion and Ad- 
dress. By Mrs. Mabeei.t. This is the best book on the subject ever published. It contains nothing that is 
verbose or difficult to understand, but all the instructions and rules for conversation are given in. a plain and 
common-sense manner, so that any one, however dull, can easily comprehend them. 
Price as 

Courtship Made Easy ; or, The Art of Making Love fully Ex- 

plained. Containing full and minute directions for conducting a Courtship with Ladies of every age and 
position in society, and valuable information for persons who desire to enter the marriage state. Also, forms 
of Love-letters to be used on certain occasions. 64 pages. Price 15 

How to Win and How to Woo. Containing Rules for the 

Etiquette of Courtship, with directions, showing how to win the favor of the Ladies, how to begin and end a 
Courtship, and how Love Letters should be written. Price 1-3 

Bridal Etianette. A sensible Guide to the Etiquette and Observances 

of the Marriage Ceremonies ; containing complete directions for Bridal Receptions, and the necessary rule.? 
for Bridesmaids, Groomsmen, sending Cards, &o. Price 13 

HO"W to Beliave ' <"■> The Spirit of Etiquette. A Complete Guide to 

Polite Society, for Ladies and Gentlemen ; containing rules for good behavior at the dinner-table, in the 
parlor, in the street ; with important hints on introduction, and the art of conversation. Price 1 3 

How to Dress with. Taste. Containing hints upon the harmony 

of colors, the theory of contrast, the complexion, shape, or height, &c. This little volume forms a- most 
suitable companion for the toilet-table ; and every Lady and Gentleman should possess a copy, Price.. 13 

Anecdotes of Love. Being a true account of the most remarkable 

events connected with the History of Love in all Ages and among all Nations. Ey Lola Montez. Large 
12mo, cloth. These romantic and surprising anecdotes really contain all of the most traeic and comic events 
connected with the history of the tender passion among all Nations and in all Ages of the World. Price. $ 1 50 

The Dictionary of Love. Containing a Definition of all the 

Terms used in the History of the Tender Passion, together with specimens of curious model love lettew, and 
many other interesting matters appertaining to Love, never before published ; the whole forming a remark- 
able Text-Book for all Lovers, as well as a Complete Guide to Matrimony, and a Companion of Married Life. 
12mo, cloth, gilt side and back. Price $1 50 

Chesterfield's Art of Letter- Writing Simplified. A 

Guide to Friendly, Affectionate, Polite, and Business Correspondence. Containing a large collection of the most 
valuable information relative to the Art of Letter- Writing, with clear and complete instructions how to begin 
and end Correspondence Rules for Punctuation, Spelling, &c., together with numerous examples of Letters and 
Notes on every subject of Epistolary intercourse, with several important hints on Love Letters. Price.. 1 5 


Richardson's Monitor of Freemasonry. A complete Guide 

to the various Ceremonies and Routine in Freemasons' Lodges, Chapters, Encampments, Hierarchies, &c., &c., 
in all the Degrees, whether Modem, Ancient, Inelfable, or Historical ; containing Engravings of the Signs, 
Tokens, and Grips, and descriptions of the Regalia and Jewels, and likewise the Passwords and othtr Secret 
Words in each Degree. Profusely illustrated with explanatory Engravings and I latos. By J abi:z Uichxrd- 
?oN, A. M. Any Society of Masons who wish to work in the higher Degrees.or in any Degree whatever, will 
find this book an invaluable aid to them. 192 pages, bound in gilt cloth. Price $1 00 

Morgan's Freemasonry Exposed and Explained. 

Showing the Origin, History, and Nature of Masonry ; its Effects on the Government and the Christian Re- 
ligion ; and containing a Key to all the Degrees of Freemasonry ; giving a clear and correct view of the 
Manner of Conferring the Different Degrees, as practiced in all Lodges throughout the Globe. Price... 25 


HO"W to Mix Drinks. Containing Recipes for Mixing American, 

lEnglish, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Russian Drinks— such as Juleps, Punches, Cobblers, Slings, 
ICocktails, &c. By Jebry Thomas, late Bar-Tender at the Metropolitan Hotel, New York, and Planter's 
^House, St. Louis. To which is appended a Manual for the Manufacture of Cordials, Liquors, Fmcy Syrups, 
&c., containing Recipes after the most approved methods now used in the Distillation of Liquors and Beverages, 
iesigned for the special use of Manufacturers and Dealers in "Wines and Spirits, Grocers, Tavern Keepers, and 
Private Families— the same being adapted to the trade of the United States and Canadas. By Prof. Christian 
5CHULTZ, Practical Ckemist, and Manufacturer of Wines, Liquors, Cordials, &c., from Berne, Switzerland ; 
he whole "Work containing over 700 valuable recipes. A lirgo book, bound in cloth. Price $3 50 




Lacour on the Mamifacture of Liquors, Wines and 

CORDIvVLS, Without the Aid of Distillation. Also, the manufacture of Etforrescing Beverages and Syrups^ 

Vinegar anJ Bitters. Prepared expressly for the Trade. By I'iekre Lacouh. 12nio, clo'h. 

Price.... , $a 50 

Tlie French Wine and Liquor Manufacturer. A 

Practical Guide and Private Receipt Book for the American Liquor Merchant. By John Rack, Practical 
Wine and Liquor Manufacturer. Illustrated with descriptive Diagrams, Tables and Eni;ravings. This is by 
far the most complete and reliable book on the Manufacture of Liquor ever published. Cloth, price. .$3 00 

The Bordeaux Wine and Liquor Dealers' G-uide. A 

Treatise on the Manufacture of Liquors. By a Practical Liquor Manufacturer. 12mo, cloth. The author, 
after telling what e ich liquid is composed of, furnishes a formula; for making its exact counterpart — exact in 
everything. Each formulae is eomprekensive, no one can misunderstand it. The ingredients are specifically 
namtMi, and the quantity required of each distinctly set forth. Price ^'4 50 


The Harp of a Thousand Strings ; or, Laughter for a Lifetime. 

A largo book of nearly 400 pages, bound in a handsome gilt cover. Containine more than a million laughs, 
and crowded full of Funny Stories, besides being illustrated with over Two Hundred Comical Engravings. 
It is a complete Reservoir of Mirth provoking, Care-killmg, Laughter-breeding, Meriy-making, Fun-hatch- 
ing, Jolly-good Stories, Tough Yarns, Jokes, Travesties, Doggerels, and Apt Hits at theTimes. Price-$ 1 50 

Dr. Valentine's Comic Lectures. A Budget of Wit and 

Humor ; or Morsels of Mirth for the Melancholy. A certain cure for the Blues, and all other serious complaints. 
Comprising Comic Lectures on Heads, Faces, Noses, Mouths, Animal Magnetism, Arc; with Specimens of 
Eloquence, Transactions of Learned Societies, Delineations of Eccentric Characters, Comic Songs, licc, &c. 
By Dr. W. Valentine, the favorite Delineator of Eccentric Characters. Illustrated with twelve portraits of 

Dr. Valentine, in his most celebrated characters. 12mo, cloth, gilt. Price $1 35 

Ornamental paper cover.... — - 75 

Dr. Valentine's Comic Metamorphoses. Being the Second. 

Series of Dr. Valentine's Lectures, with characters as given by the late Yankee Hill. Embellished with nu • 

meroun portraits. Ornamental paper cover. Price .... . 75 

Cloth, gUt SI a5 

Mrs. Partington's Carpet-Bag of Fun. illustrated with 

over 150 of the most laughable engravings ever designed, from Drawings by Darley, MoLonnan, and others, 
and a collection of over lUOO of the most comical stories, amusing adventures, side-splitting jokes, cheek- 
extending poetry, funny conundrums. Queer Satings OF Mrs. i*ABTiNGTo.N, henrt-rcnding puns, witty ro- 
pariees, &o.. &c. The whole illustrated by about 150 comic wood-cuts. 12mo, 300 pages. This enterta'mng 
book is well printed on fine white paper, and contains 300 page.s with tinted frontispiece by Dark y. Over 

20,000 copies of this work have already been sold. Cloth, gilt. Price $1 23 

Ornamental paper cover 7 5 

The Book of 1,000 Com.ical Stories; or, Endless Repast of 

Fun. A rich banquet for every day in the year, with several courses and a dessert. Comprising tales of 
Humor, Laughable Anecdotes, Irresistible Drolleries, Jovial Jokes, Comical Conceits, Puns and Pickings, 
Quibbles and Queries, Bon Mots and llroad Grins, Oddities, Epigrams, &c., &c.; Merry Songs for Merry 
Moments ; Conundrums for the Million ; an Inexhaustible Store of Nuts to Cra'.k, and Sports and Pastimes 
for all Seasons. Appropriately Illustrated with 300 Comic Engravings. Large 12mo, oloth. Price. .$1 50 

The Courtship and Adventures of Jonathan Home- 

BRED; or. The Scrapes and Escapes of a Live Yanlcee. Beautifully illustrated. 12mo, cloth. For life-like 
portraits, quaint and quiet drollery, laughter-moving scenes abroad and at home, wherein real live Yankees 
five, and move, and talk, wo recommend this book. The book is printed in handsome style, on good paper, 
ai»d with amusing engravings. Price $1 50 

The Plate of ChO"Wder : ^ Dish for Funny Fellows. Appropri- 

ately illustrated wiih 100 Comic Engravings. If you want the drollest and most comical collection of Storie* 
and Jokes ever printed, and spirited and laughable pictures to match, buy this book. We defy any person to 
keep a straight face, or his buttons on his clothes, either, when he reads any of the Queer Tales m the "Plat* 
of Cliowdcr." 12mo, paper cover — 35 

The Laughable Adventures of Messrs. Brcwii, Jones 

A>"D ROBINSON, showing where they went, and how they went ; what they^did, and how they did it. "With 
nearly 200 most thrillingly-comic engravings. Price 35 

L>aughing G-as. ^ Encyclopoedia of "Wit, "Wisdom and "Wind. By 

Sam Slick, iii. Comically ilhi-trated with 100 origin^il and laug'.iabla pnrrarings, and near .'00 side-extend* 
ing jokes, ana other things to get fat on; and the best of it is, that everything about the book is new an<3 
ireah — all new — new dosigiw, now storio*, new typo— uo c>:-.ix ulm.viiao rtufi'. 36 




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